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Ergonomics

Ergonomics

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Ergonomics
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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(July 2008)
Ergonomics: the science of designing the job, equipment, and workplace
Ergonomics
is the science of designing the job, equipment, and workplace to fit the worker.Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries, which can developover time and can lead to long-term disability.
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[edit] Overview
Ergonomics is concerned with the ‘fit’ between people and their work. It takes account of theworker's capabilities and limitations in seeking to ensure that tasks, equipment, information andthe environment suit each worker.To assess the fit between a person and their work, ergonomists consider the job being done andthe demands on the worker; the equipment used (its size, shape, and how appropriate it is for thetask), and the information used (how it is presented, accessed, and changed). Ergonomics drawson many disciplines in its study of humans and their environments, includinganthropometry, biomechanics,mechanical engineering, industrial engineering,industrial design,kinesiology,  physiologyand psychology. Typically,an ergonomist will have a BA or BS in Psychology, Industrial/Mechanical Engineeringor Health Sciences, and usually an MA, MS or PhD in a related discipline. Many universitiesoffer 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 practiceareas.
[edit] Five aspects of ergonomics
There are five aspects of ergonomics: safety, comfort, ease of use, productivity/performance, andaesthetics.
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Based on these aspects of ergonomics, examples are given of how productsor systems could benefit from redesign based on ergonomic principles.1.Safety - Medicine bottles: The print on them could be larger so that a sick person whomay have bad vision (due to sinuses, etc.) can more easily see the dosages and label.Ergonomics could design the print style, color and size for optimal viewing.2.Comfort - Alarm clock display: Some displays are harshly bright, drawing one’s eye tothe light when surroundings are dark. Ergonomic principles could re-design this based oncontrast principles.3.Ease of use - Street Signs: In a strange area, many times it is difficult to spot street signs.This could be addressed with the principles of visual detection in ergonomics.
 
4.Productivity/performance - HD TV: The sound on HD TV is much lower than regular TV.So when you switch from HD to regular, the volume increases dramatically. Ergonomicsrecognizes that this difference in decibel level creates a difference in loudness and hurtshuman ears and this could be solved by evening out the decibel levels.5.Aesthetics - the look and feel of the object, the user experience.
[edit] Domains
TheInternational Ergonomics Association(IEA) divides ergonomics broadly into three domains:
Physical ergonomics: is concerned with human anatomical, anthropometric, physiologicaland biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity. (Relevant topicsinclude working postures, materials handling, repetitive movements, work relatedmusculoskeletal disorders, workplace layout, safety and health.)
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, human-computer interaction, human reliability, work stress and training asthese may relate to human-system design.)
Organizational ergonomics: is concerned with the optimization of sociotechnical systems,including their organizational structures, policies, and processes.(Relevant topics includecommunication, crew resource management, work design, design of working times,teamwork, participatory design, community ergonomics, cooperative work, new work  paradigms, virtual organizations, telework, and quality management.}]
[edit] History
The foundations of the science of ergonomics appear to have been laid within the context of theculture of Ancient Greece.A good deal of evidence indicates that Hellenic civilization in the 5th century BCE used ergonomic principles in the design of their tools, jobs, and workplaces. Oneoutstanding example of this can be found in the description Hippocrates gave of how a surgeon'sworkplace should be designed (see Marmaras, Poulakakis and Papakostopoulos, 1999)
.The term ergonomics is derived from the Greek words
ergon
[work] and
nomos
[natural laws]and first entered the modern lexicon when Wojciech Jastrzębowskiused 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 NaturalScience).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 byincrementally reducing the size and weight of coal shovels until the fastest shoveling rate wasreached.Frank  andLillian Gilbrethexpanded Taylor's methods in the early 1900s to develop "Time and Motion Studies". They aimed to improve efficiency by eliminating unnecessary stepsand actions. By applying this approach, the Gilbreths reduced the number of motions in

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