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History of Ergonomics

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History of Ergonomics

Ergonom ics is about how people, based on their physical capabilities, can best organise and conduct their activities. The w ord ergonomics may best be explained as the adaption of the environment to man. Ergonomists conduct research into w ork strain and w orking posture as w ell as w ork settings in organisations. The entire context in w hich you perform your w ork is important. This means that attention is not only paid to w hat you are capable of, but also to the point w here you go beyond the boundaries of your ow n ability. The aim is to have the w ork physically conducted w ith as little strain as possible, so that you have maximum energy for your w ork and other things you find important. In addition the w ork should be conducted efficiently. In other w ords, the point is to achieve as much as possible w ith minimum effort, in a w ay that is healthy, safe and pleasant, i.e. you must feel comfortable doing it. In modern ergonomics, it is a matter of adjustment of w ork to the individual, for instance by using height adjustable office furniture. To summarise, ergonomics includes the know ledge of how w ork can be organised and conducted in an efficient and healthy w ay. The developm ent of ergonom ics When did ergonomics come into existence? At the time that, due to industrial development, more complicated technical equipment w as introduced, resulting in more organisation. At that time, it w as not altogether clear how you could best arrange your w ork, simply because people had no experience of it. In the initial phase of the development of ergonomics, the aim w as to get people to produce as much as possible at the low est possible cost. The most famous name associated w ith early ergonomics is Taylor. His name has become a household w ord w hich, how ever, has got a more and more negative connotation. In the period round 1900, Taylor examined, through time and motion studies, how people carried out their activities, w hat movement they made and how much time it took. Next he determined how all operations could be executed as effectively as possible to produce as much as possible in the minimum amount of time. That is w hat is called the 'Taylor system, resulting of course in rushed systems, assembly line production etc. Essential progress During the w ar, w hen many pilots w ere required and airplanes became increasingly complicated, it w as discovered that the cockpits w ere not adequate i.e. logically organised, causing accidents to happen. This w as an essential push in the progress of ergonomics.

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