The design of control rooms, workstations, plant and equipment can have a large impact on human performance. Designing tasks, equipment and work stations to suit the user can reduce human error, accidents and ill-health. Failure to observe ergonomic principles can have serious consequences for individuals and for the employer. Effective use of ergonomics will make work safer, healthier and more productive.
To assess the fit between a person and their work, ergonomists have to consider many aspects such as the task, the equipment being used, and the physical and social environments. Physical aspects such as body size, shape, posture and the senses should also be considered.
- reduces the potential for accidents
- reduces the potential for injury and ill health
- improves performance and productivity.
Ergonomics can reduce the potential for ill health at work, such as aches and pains of the wrists, shoulders and back. Consider the layout of controls and equipment; these should be positioned in relation to how they are used. Those used most often should be placed where they are easy to reach without the need for stooping, stretching or hunching.
Ergonomics is typically known for solving physical problems.
For example, ensuring that work surfaces are high enough to allow adequate clearance for a worker’s legs. However, ergonomics also deals with psychological and social aspects of the person and their work.
For example, a workload that is too high or too low, unclear tasks, time pressures, inadequate training, and poor social support can all have negative effects on the person and the work they do
- INDG 036 Working with VDUs - Source HSE (GB)
- L022 Safe Use of Work Equipment - Approved for use in N.I. - Source HSE (GB)
- L026 Work With Display Screen Equipment - Source HSE (GB)
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 - legislation.gov.uk
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 - legislation.gov.uk
Please note that these links are to the original legislation, visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.