Five key questions around Ergonomics

Where you read this article? In the office or at home on a comfortable gaming chair? Sitting or standing? Is there much noise in the background? And the space in which you are now pleasant and well ventilated? We robbed you probably have many questions at once. But it makes clear that ergonomics is a broad concept. In companies is an optimum and comfortable working environment for the employees a desirable objective. Ergonomics is also gaining importance at home, whether you’re at work or takes just relaxing. To indicate the latest developments and trends in the field of ergonomics, we spent three experts around the table and let them loose on five crucial questions. Their answers paint a clear picture of what ergonomics means today.

The experts are:

– Tom Stewart, Executive Chairman, System Concepts, London, England
– Lotta Falenius, Physical Therapist / Occupational Therapist, Arbetsform, Sweden
– Robert W. Stuthridge, Ph.D. Integrated ergonomics, USA, Ergonomicsource.com

– What is ergonomics?

Stewart: Basically everything. Ergonomics is the relationship between people and their surroundings and everything in that area. The first applications of ergonomics can be found in the military and industry. Today we also see the benefits of ergonomics in the medical, retail, transport, communications, leisure and sport.

Falenius: Ergonomics means adapting the work environment to your body. Variation, exercise and a good attitude are essential for trouble – avoid – including in muscles and joints. Ergonomics in the office means in the first place: an adjustable ergonomic office chair and desk with variable height.

Stuthridge: Ergonomics extends across all purposeful activity of people. An occupational therapist applies knowledge of anatomy, physiology, engineering, epidemiology, anthropometry, biomechanics and psychology to understanding the opportunities and working capacity of a human being. As may be assigned tasks do not exceed the capabilities and capacities.

– Which human activity there is too little attention to ergonomics?

Stewart: One often overlooks the fact that the separation has become blurred between work and leisure. We beat more hours, more often work at home, and we expect that we can relax a little in our workplace. A nice idea, but less good for the job.

Falenius: I think school boards pay little attention to ergonomics. Students do not always sit in comfortable positions, allowing them to have problems with their neck and back. Such complaints should be addressed decisively, otherwise new problems arise later in life.

Stuthridge: Mostly focused ergonomics himself to influential and ‘political interest’ sectors. Therefore, the priorities can vary widely over time. Among more active than in other sectors of the transportation industry are more ergonomic specialists.

– What are the advantages of ergonomics have been in business a priority?

Stewart: Unfortunately, improving work quality not usually high on the agenda. However, most countries have well-developed legislation in the field of health and safety. This might encourage the business world in order to start at an ergonomic programs.

Falenius: Often, the economic reality is decisive. This means that the long-term effects of ergonomics are generally ignored. If well cared for employees, productivity increases and decrease the cost of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, companies focus more on the short term. They find that new ergonomic equipment or turning on an ergonomist is too expensive.

Stuthridge: Employers are generally interested in maximum productivity, the highest profit or the lowest possible overhead. There are companies that really care about the welfare of their employees, but often the productivity and costs still a priority.

– What major trend you see in terms of ergonomics?

Stewart: It used to be mainly looked at the actual use of individual ergonomic product. Now the overall user experience is gaining importance. Technology providers are seeking ways to optimize the overall experience with products.

Falenius: People spend less and less time at a desk by. They use the computer less. If employees could talk to their computers and could move freely, the body would have endure less stress. Static stress is one of the main causes of RSI.

Stuthridge: There are no clear trends in ergonomics. But maybe is increasing the importance of ergonomists with the aging of the population. If there are negative social trends are at work, activities in the field of ergonomics follow that trend.

– You aground a desert island. Which (ergonomic) object could you miss that?

Stewart: If I would have a solar charger, I would take an iPad. I probably would not have WiFi or 3G signal, but there are plenty of apps that I can enjoy myself. In anticipation of my salvation, I can listen to music for hours in addition to the iPad and view photos.

Falenius: On a desert island I can move freely, run, walk around and do exercises in the sand. I would probably opt for a bowl of fruit and nuts – then I have to eat something sweet. The goal of ergonomics is “feeling good” and then I have more than enough with that. At least, if I do not have to stay long on that island.

Stuthridge: I’d take a good knife. With that I can take care of food and shelter. When I stand outside society with all its obligations, my standard of living improves immediately. No mortgage, no credit cards, no silly advertisements or stupid entertainment. Time to think about life. In this busy time is perhaps the greatest luxury.

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