Ergonomics is a comprehensive empirical study, aimed at understanding the multi-faceted man-technique system and develop a set of propositions which are scientific basis for the mutual adaptation of the members of this system, and for the permanent regulation of mutual relations between the members in accordance with the expected development of man as product user and the technical requirements, enabling reliable operation of the system
Ergonomics is etymologically derived from the Greek words: ergon - work, nomos - law, which means science dealing with the laws that govern the work process.
The classical definition of ergonomics: science of adapting work to the human body in various psycho-physical and physical properties.
Modern ergonomics complements the classic definition:... with particular emphasis on the principles of creating optimal conditions for mutual adjustment, in order to increase productivity and contribute to the well-being of the employee. So ergonomics is an applied science that deals with the adaptation of work to the physical and mental human capabilities to ensure efficient operation possible, without posing health risks and pursuing cost optimization.
Ergonomics research achievements
- First generation (human-machine interface technology) focused on the issues of anthropometric, process of perception and simple system design.
- Second generation - system designs related to the man - computer interaction. It extended the scope of research of understanding the nature of human decision-making process.
- Third generation was formed as a discipline concerned with the design of wider complex system in terms of both technical and organizational, and environmental considerations.
The characteristics of ergonomics as both theoretical and applied science, we can start from the following generalizations:
- The chief goal of ergonomics is to improve the "quality" of human life, the formation of such conditions, which may be a source of satisfaction, comfort and safety,
- Overriding task of ergonomics is to improve (optimize) the human-technology, process, shaped by technological advances, the development of human needs, change in managerial knowledge.
- The main subject of study of ergonomics is to analyze the relationship between humans, technology, and organization in different aspects of life..
Ergonomics in management science
Ergonomics is an interdisciplinary science, since it contains a comprehensive solution of problems impossible to solve in terms of isolated actions of individual sciences, namely:
- Physiology is the study of work and body's response to working, work-induced environmental conditions.
- Engineering psychology examines the activities and characteristics of human adaptation in terms of technical equipment and working conditions for its mental properties in terms of reception, processing of information, and decision making.
- Anthropometry of work involves measuring of the parameters of the human body (leg dimensions, arm ranges, body position, etc.) and gives guidance as to the proper dimensions of appliances, etc.
- Occupational health tackles the negative impacts of environmental conditions using measures against the negative effects of job performance, such as the organization of the rest.
- Occupational safety and health (OSH) is responsible for the total resources (equipment, methods, rules) by which risks can be eliminated completely or reduced to the limits of tolerance of any risks (accidents, occupational diseases) occurring in the workplace.
Ergonomics and work
Above disciplines provide the complete data about human organism, and ergonomics synthesizes them into practical implementation. Ergonomics deals with human behaviour in terms of work, and more specifically examines the points of contact between the body and the work environment. Ergonomics place among other sciences:
- technique and technology,
- work methods testing,
- measuring and standardizing of work
- qualification of work.
From the point of view of the development trends, ergonomics can be divided in general and specialized departments such as: industrial ergonomics, ergonomics of transport, construction ergonomics, ergonomics of products for everyday use, ergonomics of the man - machine, ergonomics of information systems.
Over time body's ability to continue working is dropping. It is a natural reaction of the body's defense against harmful biological equilibrium violation. In industrial environments the negative phenomena in the system can be aggravated by improper organization of work. Typical issues solved in the organization are: the length of the working day, compliance rhythms: biological and work schedule breaks, the degree of intensification of work, monotony.
Tasks of ergonomics
The main tasks of ergonomics are:
- Customize the material factors to human capabilities
- Working to protect the body against threats
- Optimization of the interaction between man, machine and environment conditions
- Striving to create conditions for comfort.
- International Ergonomics Associacion, Ergonomics. Taylor & Francis, 1957.
- Hendrick, H. W. (1991). Ergonomics in organizational design and management. Ergonomics, 34(6), 743-756.
- Kroemer, K. H., Kroemer, H. B., & Kroemer-Elbert, K. E. (2001). Ergonomics: how to design for ease and efficiency. Pearson College Division.
- Human Factors and Ergonomics Society website