Ergonomics and Human Factors Engineering

Ergonomics is the study of the human body at work. As a science, it has its roots in the industrial revolution. Time and motion studies were used to improve workers' performance. The success of Henry Ford's production line was a direct result of an understanding and respect for Ergonomics.

Most of the data from which ergonomists based their studies grew from information gathered as a result of World War II. The need to clothe, transport and house troops, design airplane cockpits and gun stations and build efficient physical and technical training programs was the primary motivation.

Unfortunately, these government studies were only done on the minority of the male population who served during the war.

It has only been recently that designers could benefit from new databases and statistics and it is only recently that the results of bad ergonomics are showing up in large segments of the RSIs (Repetitive Stress Injuries).

The sea change occurring in industry as a result of the growth in information technology has changed the focus of Ergonomics from factories to offices and from machines that mimic the human body to machines that mimic the human mind.

The sites listed in these sections will help to define your thinking about ergonomics and the Human-Computer Interface (HCI) and help you to recognize the causes of problems and locate solutions.

Overview of Ergonomics Resources

Articles, Guides and FAQs
As a testament to the importance of ergonomics in today's world, the proliferation of web sites chock full of content should give you pause (while you do, stretch a little, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths...) These guides offer a lot of information, some of it conflicting, but application of the basic concepts will have a beneficial effect on the quality of your work and your life.

RSI, Carpal Tunnel, Back and Neck Pain and Miscellaneous Computer-related Injury Links
It is important that RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) sufferers be aware that the prevention of RSI may be one of finding a comfortable and efficient posture and maintaining a balance of movements while you work, but decisions concerning the alleviation of pain and the treatment of chronic conditions should be made with the assistance of qualified medical personnel. The possibilities of serious complications and permanent disability are too great to disregard.

Universities, Organizations and Associations
This list is not as deep as it ought to be. There are services not yet on line available through many universities, organizations and health care providers that deal with ergonomics issues. As they come on line and we locate them, we will list them.
Solutions by Design
One of the key elements of Ergonomics is environmental. How you lay out your work space and how you interface with it (ie. Sit, stand, move around, view your screen, address your CPU, etc.) has an immediate impact on both your productivity and your health. This is true both for healthy workers, physically challenged workers and people already suffering from cumulative trauma disorders.

Resources: Consultants, Vendors and Product Manufacturers
Many corporations and institutions have found it beneficial to bring an ergonomics consultant on site to evaluate working conditions. Quite frankly, more ought to. Not just for the obvious reasons of the health and safety of their employees, but because of the noticeable increase in productivity and profitability that is gained by providing a good working environment.

How to List Your Company or Organization in the Ergonomics Resources Index
Add yoURL - Link up and Thrive WorkSpace Resources is the oldest and most comprehesive edited directory of the Contract Furniture Industry on the internet. Begun in 1995, its focus is on enhancing understanding and providing access for end-users to furniture for work. There is a small charge to have your company listed and there are limited sponsorship opportunities available for a number of the sections on the site. Go to Add yoURL to learn more. If you experience any problems or just want to praise our efforts, please Let Us Know.

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