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«Ergonomics Overview Ergonomics is the science of designing user interaction with equipment and workplaces to fit the user. Proper ergonomic design is ...»

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Ergonomics

Overview

Ergonomics is the science of designing user interaction with equipment and workplaces to fit the user.

Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and

can lead to long-term disability.

The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as follows:

Ergonomics is employed to fulfill the two goals of health and productivity. It is relevant in the design of such things as safe furniture and easy-to-use interfaces to machines.

Ergonomics is concerned with the ‘fit’ between people and their technological tools and environments.

  Encyclopedia Ergonomics is the science of designing user interaction with equipment and workplaces to fit the user.

Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.

The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as follows:

Ergonomics is employed to fulfill the two goals of health and productivity. It is relevant in the design of such things as safe furniture and easy-to-use interfaces to machines.

Overview Ergonomics is concerned with the ‘fit’ between people and their technological tools and environments. It takes account of the user's capabilities and limitations in seeking to ensure that tasks, equipment, information and the environment suit each user.

To assess the fit between a person and the used technology, ergonomists consider the job (activity) being done and the demands on the user; the equipment used (its size, shape, and how appropriate it is for the task), and the information used (how it is presented, accessed, and changed). Ergonomics draws on many disciplines in its study of humans and their environments, including anthropometry, biomechanics, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, industrial design,kinesiology, physiology and psychology.

Typically, an ergonomist will have a BA or BS in Psychology, Industrial/Mechanical Engineering or Industrial Design or Health Sciences, and usually an MA, MS or PhD in a related discipline. Many universities offer Master of Science degrees in Ergonomics, while some offer Master of Ergonomics or Master of Human Factors degrees. In the 2000s, occupational therapists have been moving into the field of ergonomics and the field has been heralded as one of the top ten emerging practice areas.

Physical ergonomics: is concerned with human anatomical, and some of the anthropometric, • physiological and bio mechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity.

Cognitive ergonomics: is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, • reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system. (Relevant topics include mental workload, decision-making, skilled performance, humancomputer interaction, human reliability, work stress and training as these may relate to humansystem and Human-Computer Interaction design.) Organizational ergonomics: is concerned with the optimization of socio technical systems, including • their organizational structures, policies, and processes.(Relevant topics include communication, crew resource management, work design, design of working times, teamwork, participatory design, community ergonomics, cooperative work, new work programs, virtual organizations, telework, and quality management.

History and etymology The foundations of the science of ergonomics appear to have been laid within the context of the culture of Ancient Greece. A good deal of evidence indicates that Hellenic civilization in the 5th century BC used ergonomic principles in the design of their tools, jobs, and workplaces. One outstanding example of this can be found in the description Hippocrates gave of how a surgeon's workplace should be designed and how the tools he uses should be arranged (see Marmaras, Poulakakis and Papakostopoulos, 1999). It is also true that archaeological records of the early Egyptians Dynasties made tools, household equipment, among others that illustrated ergonomic principles. It is therefore questionable whether the claim by Marmaras, et al., regarding the origin of ergonomics, can be justified (I G Okorji, 2009).

The term ergonomics is derived from the Greek words ergon [work] and nomos [natural laws] and first entered the modern lexicon when Wojciech Jastrzębowski used the word in his 1857 article Rys ergonomji czyli nauki o pracy, opartej na prawdach poczerpniętych z Nauki Przyrody (The Outline of Ergonomics, i.e.

Science of Work, Based on the Truths Taken from the Natural Science).

Later, in the 19th century, Frederick Winslow Taylor pioneered the "Scientific Management" method, which proposed a way to find the optimum method for carrying out a given task. Taylor found that he could, for example, triple the amount of coal that workers were shoveling by incrementally reducing the size and weight of coal shovels until the fastest shoveling rate was reached. Frank and Lillian Gilbreth expanded Taylor's methods in the early 1900s to develop "Time and Motion Studies". They aimed to improve efficiency by eliminating unnecessary steps and actions. By applying this approach, the Gilbreths reduced the number of motions in bricklaying from 18 to 4.5, allowing bricklayers to increase their productivity from 120 to 350 bricks per hour.





World War II marked the development of new and complex machines and weaponry, and these made new demands on operators' cognition. The decision-making, attention, situational awareness and hand-eye coordination of the machine's operator became key in the success or failure of a task. It was observed that fully functional aircraft, flown by the best-trained pilots, still crashed. In 1943, Alphonse Chapanis, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, showed that this so-called "pilot error" could be greatly reduced when more logical and differentiable controls replaced confusing designs in airplane cockpits.

In the decades since the war, ergonomics has continued to flourish and diversify. The Space Age created new human factors issues such as weightlessness and extreme g-forces. How far could environments in space be tolerated, and what effects would they have on the mind and body? The dawn of the Information Age has resulted in the new ergonomics field of human-computer interaction (HCI). Likewise, the growing demand for and competition among consumer goods and electronics has resulted in more companies including human factors in product design.

The coining of the term Ergonomics, however, is now widely attributed to British psychologist Hywel Murrell, at the 1949 meeting at the UK's Admiralty, which led to the foundation of The Ergonomics Society. He used it to encompass the studies in which he had been engaged during and after the Second World War.

Applications More than twenty technical subgroups within the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) indicate the range of applications for ergonomics. Human factors engineering continues to be successfully applied in the fields of aerospace, aging, health care, IT, product design, transportation, training, nuclear and virtual environments, among others. Kim Vicente, a University of Toronto Professor of Ergonomics, argues that the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl is attributable to plant designers not paying enough attention to human factors. "The operators were trained but the complexity of the reactor and the control panels nevertheless outstripped their ability to grasp what they were seeing [during the prelude to the disaster]."

Physical ergonomics is important in the medical field, particularly to those diagnosed with physiological ailments or disorders such as arthritis (both chronic and temporary) or carpal tunnel syndrome. Pressure that is insignificant or imperceptible to those unaffected by these disorders may be very painful, or render a device unusable, for those who are. Many ergonomically designed products are also used or recommended to treat or prevent such disorders, and to treat pressure-related chronic pain.

Human factors issues arise in simple systems and consumer products as well. Some examples include cellular telephones and other hand held devices that continue to shrink yet grow more complex (a phenomenon referred to as "creeping featurism"), millions of VCRs blinking "12:00" across the world because very few people can figure out how to program them, or alarm clocks that allow sleepy users to inadvertently turn off the alarm when they mean to hit 'snooze'. A user-centered design (UCD), also known as a systems approach or the usability engineering life cycle aims to improve the user-system.

Design of ergonomics experiments

There is a specific series of steps that should be used in order to properly design an ergonomics experiment. First, one should select a problem that has practical impact. The problem should support or test a current theory. The user should select one or a few dependent variable(s) which usually measures safety, health, and/or physiological performance. Independent variable(s) should also be chosen at different levels.

Normally, this involves paid participants, the existing environment, equipment, and/or software. When testing the users, one should give careful instructions describing the method or task and then get voluntary consent.

The user should recognize all the possible combination's and interactions to notice the many differences that could occur. Multiple observations and trials should be conducted and compared to maximize the best results. Once completed, redesigning within and between subjects should be done to vary the data. It is often that permission is needed from the Institutional Review Board before an experiment can be done. A mathematical model should be used so that the data will be clear once the experiment is completed.

The experiment starts with a pilot test. Make sure in advance that the subjects understand the test, the equipment works, and that the test is able to be finished within the given time. When the experiment actually begins, the subjects should be paid for their work. All times and other measurements should be carefully measured and recorded. Once all the data is compiled, it should be analyzed, reduced, and formatted in the right way. A report explaining the experiment should be written. It should often display statistics including an ANOVA table, plots, and means of central tendency. A final paper should be written and edited after numerous drafts to ensure an adequate report is the final product.

Ergonomics in the workplace

Outside of the discipline itself, the term 'ergonomics' is generally used to refer to physical ergonomics as it relates to the workplace (as in for example ergonomic chairs and keyboards). Ergonomics in the workplace has to do largely with the safety of employees, both long and short-term. Ergonomics can help reduce costs by improving safety. This would decrease the money paid out in workers’ compensation. For example, over five million workers sustain overextension injuries per year. Through ergonomics, workplaces can be designed so that workers do not have to overextend themselves and the manufacturing industry could save billions in workers’ compensation.

Workplaces may either take the reactive or proactive approach when applying ergonomics practices.

Reactive ergonomics is when something needs to be fixed, and corrective action is taken. Proactive ergonomics is the process of seeking areas that could be improved and fixing the issues before they become a large problem. Problems may be fixed through equipment design, task design, or environmental design. Equipment design changes the actual, physical devices used by people. Task design changes what people do with the equipment. Environmental design changes the environment in which people work, but not the physical equipment they use.

Engineering psychology

Engineering psychology is an interdisciplinary part of ergonomics and studies the relationships of people to machines, with the intent of improving such relationships. This may involve redesigning equipment, changing the way people use machines, or changing the location in which the work takes place. Often, the work of an engineering psychologist is described as making the relationship more "user-friendly."

Engineering psychology is an applied field of psychology concerned with psychological factors in the design and use of equipment. Human factors is broader than engineering psychology, which is focused specifically on designing systems that accommodate the information-processing capabilities of the brain.

Macroergonomics

Macroergonomics is an approach to ergonomics that emphasizes a broad system view of design, examining organizational environments, culture, history, and work goals. It deals with the physical design of tools and the environment. It is the study of the society/technology interface and their consequences for relationships, processes, and institutions. It also deals with the optimization of the designs of organizational and work systems through the consideration of personnel, technological, and environmental variables and their interactions. The goal of macroergonomics is a completely efficient work system at both the macro- and micro-ergonomic level which results in improved productivity, and employee satisfaction, health, safety, and commitment. It analyzes the whole system, finds how each element should be placed in the system, and considers all aspects for a fully efficient system. A misplaced element in the system can lead to total failure.

History Macroergonomics, also known as organizational design and management factors, deals with the overall design of work systems. This domain did not begin to receive recognition as a sub-discipline of ergonomics until the beginning of the 1980s. The idea and current perspective of the discipline was the work of the U.S.

Human Factors Society Select Committee on the Future of Human Factors, 1980-2000. This committee was formed to analyze trends in all aspects of life and to look at how they would impact ergonomics over the

following 20 years. The developments they found include:

1. Breakthroughs in technology that would change the nature of work, such as the desktop computer,

2. The need for organizations to adapt to the expectations and needs of this more mature workforce,



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