Ergonomics looks at and aims to improve the relationship between people and the tools, tasks, processes and machines they use. Improving safety and efficiency are the goals of ergonomic design and intervention. The ideal goal would be design that eliminates injuries, poor understanding, inefficiencies, and errors without the need for operator training or diligence. Nevertheless, safety is and continues to be a shared responsibility between the employer, insurance broker, ergonomist, health service team, and the worker.
Office ergonomics design helps with the prevention of neuromusculoskeletal disorders for the ever growing 'knowledge worker' who spends a good part of their day on the computer. There are many ways to sit and interface with you chair, keyboard, mouse, monitor, phone, and other materials around your desk. Unfortunately, most people sit and interface with the items in their workstation in ways that make their bodies' work harder than they need to by getting out of neutral postures for sustained periods of time. Mastering successful sitting and neutral postures actually enable your body to work more efficiently, easily, and be more productive. In addition, our bodies are not designed to sit for long periods of time, especially in awkward postures or fixed positions. There are alternate ways to counteract the hazardous effects of sitting when a workstation does fit the worker correctly, and with tissue sparing strategies such as micro breaks taken regularly.
In summary, ergonomics has to do with fitting the worker to their workstation in order to keep their joints and soft tissues in neutral postures, so that their neuromuscularskeletal systems are not overloaded and eventually damaged. Physical, perceptual, and cognitive capacities can all impact the safety and efficiency of work. Through effective ergonomic design we hope to maximize productivity while keeping human demands within established worker capabilities.