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Human factors and ergonomics also known as comfort design,
functional design, and user-friendly systems, is the practice of
designing products, systems or processes to take proper account of the
interaction between them and the people that use them. It is a
multidisciplinary field incorporating contributions from psychology,
engineering, biomechanics, industrial design, physiology and
anthropometry. In essence it is the study of designing equipment and
devices that fit the human body and its cognitive abilities. The two
terms "human factors" and "ergonomics" are essentially synonymous.
HF&E is employed to fulfil the goals of occupational health and
safety and productivity. It is relevant in the design of such things as
safe furniture and easy-to-use interfaces to machines and equipment.
Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain
injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders, which can develop over
time and can lead to long-term disability.
Human factors and ergonomics is concerned with the "fit" between
the user, equipment and their environments. It takes account of the
user's capabilities and limitations in seeking to ensure that tasks,
functions, information and the environment suit each user. To assess
the fit between a person and the used technology, human factors
specialists or ergonomists consider the job (activity) being done and
the demands on the user; the equipment used (its size, shape, and how
appropriate it is for the task), and the information used (how it is
presented, accessed, and changed). Ergonomics draws on many
disciplines in its study of humans and their environments, including
anthropometry, biomechanics, mechanical engineering, industrial
engineering, industrial design, information design, kinesiology,
physiology, cognitive psychology and industrial and organizational
Ergonomics is about designing for people, wherever they interact
with products, systems or processes. We usually dont notice good
design (unless perhaps, its exceptional) because it gives us no cause
to, but we do notice poor design. The emphasis within ergonomics is to
ensure that designs complement the strengths and abilities of people
and minimise the effects of their limitations, rather than forcing them

to adapt. In achieving this aim, it becomes necessary to understand

and design for the variability represented in the population, spanning
such attributes as age, size, strength, cognitive ability, prior
experience, cultural expectations and goals. Qualified ergonomists are
the only recognised professionals to have competency in optimising
performance, safety and comfort.
Researchers study the biomechanical, physiological and cognitive
effects of work on people, or users understanding of processes, or the
efficiency of systems. Practitioners study how people interact with
products, processes and environments day to day in order to improve
them, to make them easier to use, safer, more comfortable, more
efficient. They take into account and apply relevant research to help
with this and to suggest recommendations. But none of this can
happen without a thorough knowledge and understanding of the users
and their experiences.
Ergonomics comprise three main fields of research: Physical,
cognitive and organisational ergonomics.
Physical ergonomics
Physical ergonomics is concerned with human anatomy, and some of
the anthropometric, physiological and bio mechanical characteristics as
they relate to physical activity. Physical ergonomic principles have
been widely used in the design of both consumer and industrial
products. Past examples include screwdriver handles made with
serrations to improve finger grip, and use of soft thermoplastic
elastomers to increase friction between the skin of the hand and the
handle surface. Physical ergonomics is important in the medical field,
particularly to those diagnosed with physiological ailments or disorders
such as arthritis (both chronic and temporary) or carpal tunnel
syndrome. Pressure that is insignificant or imperceptible to those
unaffected by these disorders may be very painful, or render a device
unusable, for those who are. Many ergonomically designed products
are also used or recommended to treat or prevent such disorders, and
to treat pressure-related chronic pain.
Cognitive ergonomics
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 as these may relate to human-system and Human-Computer

Interaction design.)
Organizational ergonomics
Organizational ergonomics is concerned with the optimization of
socio-technical systems, including their organizational structures,
policies, and processes. Relevant topics include communication, crew
resource management, work design, work systems, design of working
times, teamwork, participatory design, community ergonomics,
cooperative work, new work programs, virtual organizations, telework,
and quality management.
The International Ergonomics Association or IEA is a federation
of forty-two individual ergonomics organizations from around the world.
The mission of the IEA is to elaborate and advance ergonomics science
and practice, and to improve the quality of life by expanding its scope
of application and contribution to society.
The IEA:
Has 42 Federated Societies from across the globe.
Promotes and coordinates the international exchange of scientific
and technical information by arranging and promoting
conferences and meetings.
Supports ergonomists and ergonomics in developing countries.
Has goals and objectives derived from a strategic plan.
Maintains a Directory of Educational Programs in ergonomics
covering 35 countries.
Has produced guidelines on Core Competencies in Ergonomics.
Produced an agreed definition of "Ergonomics" in the year 2000.
Is establishing a program of certification for Ergonomics Quality
In Design (EQUID).
Encourages development and application of ergonomics by
administering nine different awards.
The IEA is governed by a Council with representatives from the
Federated societies. Day-to-day administration is performed by the
Executive Committee that comprises the elected Officers and Chairs of
the Standing Committees.
The purpose of this case study is to focus on certain important
aspects of screwdriver use in occupational work situations, with an
emphasis on comfort/discomfort in using screwdriver according to
users. Six comfort factors could be distinguished (functionality, posture

and muscles, irritation and pain of hand and fingers, irritation of hand
surface, handle characteristics, aesthetics).
These six factors can be classified into three meaningful groups:
functionality, physical interaction and appearance. It is concluded that
functionality and physical interaction are the most important factors of
comfort in using screwdriver. Thus the designers can use to address
the appropriate comfort descriptors in the hand tool design process; an
attempt is made to illustrate the relevance of anthropometric data in
the design of handle of hand tools (screwdriver) using ergonomic
principles. The modified ergonomic designed handle of screwdriver will
allow higher working efficiency and more torque than conventional
Application of anthropometric data in the design of screwdriverDetail specifications of screwdriver appear as: Tool length 114.5 mm,
handle length 83.82 mm, tool diameter 6.20 mm, handle diameter 25.4
mm, weight 165 gm. The data on the hand measurements as per male
industrial worker for handle design are presented.
Relevant hand dimension of male industrial worker (in mm)
Maximum breadth
Max. Internal grip
Hand length





A systematic approach to utilization of hand anthropometric

data in design, principally through:
(1) Determination of the target population (the intended users)
(2) Determination of the relevant physical dimensions
(3) Determination of the percentage of the population to be
(4) Determination of the ideal percentile value for the selected
anthropometric dimension;
(5) incorporation of the necessary design modification based on
this anthropometric data; and
(6) Use of mock-ups or simulators to test the design. Thus, key
design issues include identification of the target user groups and
identification of the target user groups and identification of the
most important hand dimensions. For present study, the intended
users are male industrial worker of Haryana state and determinations

of the relevant physical dimensions are hand anthropometric


The screwdriver consists of a functional part and a handle.

Design of a handle depends on factors like mode of operation,
anthropometric data of user population, material of handle and
shape of handle. For screwing operation, a screwdriver is
commonly used, here screwdriver engages with a screw, a
mechanism to apply torque by rotating the tip, and some way to
position and support the screwdriver.
The handle and shaft allow the screwdriver to be positioned and
supported and, when rotated, to apply torque. The handle is grasped
such that finger and thumb flex around the handle. The detail
specification of screwdriver is provided above the length and
diameters of handle of the screwdriver used in the region are
83.82 mm and 25.4 mm respectively. Based on the
anthropometric considerations, the length of handle should
accommodate the maximum dimension of hand breadth at thumb
here the operator grasps the handle in such a way that fingers and
thumb flex around the handle (power grip). discussed that
anthropometrically; the diameter of the handle should be such that
while an operator grips the handle, his longest finger should not
touch the palm. At the same time, it should not exceed the internal grip
diameter. The 95th percentile value of the above dimension is 110
mm. taking a clearance 5mm on each side of the grip, the length of the
handle comes to 120 mm and this value is recommended for the length
of handle. For better grip the handle diameter should not exceed the
inside grip diameter of the operator. Therefore, the handle
diameter should be according to 5th percentile value of the inside
grip diameter to accommodate the larger population group. The value
is 35 mm had found to allow good grip on handle, the diameter of the
handle should be a little lesser than the inside grip diameter. Thus
the diameter of the handle recommended is 30 mm.

Specifications of modified screwdriver are prepared on design

software CATIA having dimensions as length of tool 155 mm, handle
length 123 mm, tool diameter 6.2 mm, handle diameter 31 mm,
weight 180 gm. A ratchet arrangement is proposed in modified
design, a ratchet screwdriver is one of the most useful tools can be
used in toolbox of operator. A single ratchet screwdriver with a
good selection of bits can take the place of an entire screwdriver
set and be even easier to use. A ratchet screwdriver isnt an expensive
item and one that only takes a couple of minutes to master and
further fatigue develops rapidly in the shoulder muscles during
short-cycled repetitive screw driving can be reduced and efficiency
of the work being done is improved, the handles will be more
comfortable than conventional handles.
Results of this study contribute to the discussion of the
difference between comfort and discomfort. We argued that in
using hand tools comfort and discomfort could be seen as two
opposites on a continuous scale, because we found the same
descriptors underlie comfort and discomfort, we discussed that the
theory of the difference between comfort and discomfort depends
on the kind of product. Furthermore, the results of our study
show that functionality is most related to comfort in using hand tools,
followed by physical interaction and appearance. This result helps
in the modification of design of comfortable hand tool
(screwdriver). In addition, the results give us input to develop a
questionnaire to evaluate comfort in using hand tools.

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