Ergonomics is a discipline that involves arranging the environment to fit the person in it. Ergonomics, also called human factors or human engineering, is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system.When ergonomics is applied correctly in the work environment, visual and musculoskeletal discomfort and fatigue are reduced significantly.
As a profession, ergonomics applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.
Italian Bernardino Ramazinni (1633-1714) became the first physician to write about work-related injuries and illnesses in his 1700 publication, De Morbis Artificum (Diseases of Workers). Ramazinni was ostracized by his fellow doctors for visiting the workplaces of his patients in order to identify the causes of their disorders. The term ergonomics has its origin in the Greek words ergon (work) and nomos (natural laws) first entered the modern dictionary when Wojciech Jastrzebowski used the word in his 1857 article.
Ergonomists have attempted to define postures, which minimize unnecessary static work and reduce the forces acting on the body. Therefore, adherence to the ergonomic principles may significantly reduce the risk of injury due to repetitive movements. There are many computer-related "ergonomic" products, the most common ones being: "ergonomic" keyboards, "ergonomic" mice, wrist rests, support braces/gloves, and forearm supports/resting forearms on chair arms.
One of the primary goals of ergonomics is prevention of workplace illness and accidents. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60% of the workplace illnesses reported each year are associated with repetitive stress injuries (RSI). These injuries result from continuous repetition of the same motions, for instance screwing or twisting items on an assembly line. The injury may be exacerbated by awkward postures, such as bending or reaching too often.
Repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and Blackberry thumb. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends the integration of ergonomics in the workplace in order to reduce the prevalence of repetitive stress injuries.
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