What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the study of the interaction between people and machines and the factors that affect the interaction. Its purpose is to improve the performance of systems by improving human machine/product interaction.

This can be done by ‘designing-in’ a better interface or by ‘designing-out’ factors in the work environment, in the taskor in the organisation of work that degrade human–machine performance – R.S Bridger


Systems can be improved by:

  • Designing the user-interface to make it more compatible with the task and the user.

This makes it easier to use and more resistant to errors that people are known to make.

  • Changing the work environment to make it safer and more appropriate for the task.
  • Changing the task to make it more compatible with user characteristics.
  • Changing the way work is organised to accommodate people’s psychological, and social needs. (Ref. R.S. Bridger)

A Brief History of Ergonomics

The early days of evolution of humankind, man began developing tools to help make life easier. We can consider this as the beginning of ergonomics. In the early 1700s Bernardino Ramazzini, the founder of occupational and industrial medicine, recognized that specific occupations caused musculoskeletal hazards, this was a new beginning of the science of ergonomics.

In the early days of 20th century during the Industrial Revolution and especially during the time of World war II, the subject got its formal name Ergonomics. The rapid computerization of workplaces, the epidemic of musculoskeletal injuries in the 1990s, lots of legislative and financial drives have currently created a huge demand for ergonomic services.

"In the past, the man has been first; in future the system will be first." 

Benefits of Ergonomics

  • Including ergonomics optimizes operating costs
  • Ergonomics improves Performance/productivity
  • Including Ergonomics within the system improves Quality
  • Ergo-process Improves Employee Engagement
  • Ergonomics creates better Safety Culture within the organisation