Egonomics is defined as the study of how people work in their environment. It can also be defined as the science of designing the workplace to conform to the capabilities and limitations of the worker.
It is an improvement process which removes risk factors that lead to musculoskeletal injuries and allows for improved human performance and productivity.
For instance, if one is doing a job and his/her body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement, his/her musculoskeletal system is then affected. Thus, how one sits in his/her office can lead to work-related injuries.
There are 3 types of Ergonomics – Physical Ergonomics, Organisational Ergonomics and Cognitive Ergonomics.
• Physical Ergonomics: This focuses on the ways in which people’s bodies interact with the tools they use on a daily basis. These tools include desk, chairs, keyboard and assorted computer equipment primarily.
• Organisational Ergonomics: Organisational ergonomics examines ways to optimise an entire workplace. It entails fluid ways to optimise teamwork, improve communications, increase output and bolster quality of product.
• Cognitive Ergonomics: This deals with the mind’s ability to process information and interact with data; finding ways to help people retain data in key areas of study for engineers.
An uncomfortable work environment can affect productivity and increase the likelihood of work-related strains and eye strain. Therefore, employees and business owners are encouraged to incorporate ergonomics in the workplace to remedy an uncomfortable atmosphere. These simple changes can help to reduce stress levels and improve employee performance.
Common injuries associated with improper ergonomics include pain in the hands, wrists, shoulder, neck, back, head and eyes.
Okechukwu Okereke wrote from Abuja