What is Ergonomics?

From WorksafeBC Website:  http://www2.worksafebc.com/Topics/Ergonomics/WhatIsErgonomics.asp

Ergonomics is the science of adapting work processes and conditions to fit the physical capabilities of workers. The goal is to reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries (MSI) by minimizing or eliminating MSI risk factors.

MSI are injuries of the soft tissues (muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage) and nervous system. The most common examples include repetitive strain injuries such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, and back injuries involving muscles, ligaments, and/or spinal discs.

Risk factors that increase the likelihood of a worker suffering an MSI include:

  • Use of excessive force
  • Highly repetitive movements
  • Awkward and/or static postures
  • Manual handling of heavy loads
  • Poor tool, equipment, or workplace design
  • Poor work organization (lack of task variety, excessive work pace, etc.)
  • Cold temperatures
  • Vibration

Such risk factors can be found in a wide variety of occupations and industries, such as forest products, heavy manufacturing, construction, and meat packing. Clerical workers are also vulnerable because of prolonged (and continuous) use of input devices such as keyboard, mouse, etc.

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