Ergonomics is loosely defined as fitting a job or task to a person (instead of trying to make the person fit the job). The overarching factors of ergonomics include:
- ensuring that the individual is fit for duty – that is, physically able and prepared for the job tasks;
- providing a suitable work environment that will minimize the likelihood of work-related MSD’s (musculoskeletal disorders).
According to OSHA,
“Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affect the muscles, nerves and tendons. Work related MSDs (including those of the neck, upper extremities and low back) are one of the leading causes of lost workday injury and illness. Workers in many different industries and occupations can be exposed to risk factors at work, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively. Exposure to these known risk factors for MSDs increases a worker’s risk of injury.”
Also according to OSHA, the process of protecting workers includes:
- Providing management support;
- involving workers;
- providing training;
- Identifying problems;
- encouraging early reporting of MSD symptoms;
- implementing solutions to control hazards;
- evaluating progress.
For more information, visit the OSHA ergonomics page: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/