Essay Sample on Ergonomics

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Wesleyan University
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Ergonomics has always been considered to be the practice of designing and arranging things at work place to enable people to use them with ease and lots of safety. The problem addressed in this discussion is the musculoskeletal disorders which are observed in ergonomics epidemiology and believed to as a result of mechanical exposure. The ergonomics injuries are mainly on the muscles. The tissue injuries are primarily found in the people who work with computers (Pheasant et al. 2016). The common accidents are neck and back injuries which arise due to a significant amount of time. According to the Center for Disease Control, the most common injury is tripping; falling and slipping are the most common injuries in ergonomically indecorous working stations. These conditions reduce the quality of the productive lives in the offices. Most agencies would assume that there is no need to ensure that their work stations meet ergonomic standards. However, the impact would be felt on the cost of production in such companies.


The ship, Herald of Free Enterprises, provides a good case for the study of the significance of ergonomics in a work station. This ship was one of the busiest experience frequent loading and offloading of goods on the channel route which was very competitive. Such an active ship would have required highest levels of efficiency to put up with competitiveness in the busy road it was playing. Sadly for this ship, it once left the harbor with its bow-door wide open. The implication of this was that the ship ended up sinking after so much water flooded its decks. This incidence happened within minutes, and the ship was done. All this incidence was to blame for the negligence of one of the assistant boatswains. This lad had fallen asleep in the cabin while he should have been at work (Hignett et al. 2013). While the entire ship management was busy blaming the boatswain, they forgot to realize that the negligence rose because of the poor working conditions. The blames we thrown left to right and center up to the supervisors of the boatswain. All these would not have a rose had the design of the deck been conducive for the boatswains' fast operation. The realization that the actual problem was due to the design of the bridges brought tremendous changes in the models of ships.

Great designs in the working environments have been achieved in most fields in the world as a result of the invention of materials that pose new properties. These materials can be redesigned to perform different functions, a feature that makes them more desirable. If we are to consider the modern work environment, the use of silicon technology has substantially transformed the working conditions. This is due to the introduction of the ultra-portable computers which would be adjusted to suit the users comfort while working. This kind of inventions has been possible because of significant efforts through a partnership with stakeholders in the field of material science and design. The aim of this considerable effort has been to ensure adoption of new designs and materials that would be useful towards the improvement of the working environment for the fitness and comfort of the workers. This serves as an important application of ergonomics to improve the health standards of workers (Xie and Carayon 2015).

Ergonomics is considered by many designers as collaborative robotics. This implies that several designs have to be brought together to achieve the desired product. Some of the models that arise due to cooperative robotics include features such as rounded corners whose aim is to reduce the accidents experienced at workplace due to the sharp edges. The joints of most furniture are fitted with encapsulated joints to avoid the pinch points that usually trap workers. All these design efforts are meant to reduce poor ergonomics at the workstations. As stated earlier, poor ergonomics is the leading contributor of the muscle-skeletal disorder among the -labor force of any nation in the world (Murrel 2012).

The products designed using ergonomics skills are meant to be in constant interaction with than humans. The ergonomic designs make the product to seem like they are part and parcel of the people using them since they are easy to use. The design of these products is mainly derived from anthropometric databases which are useful for the realization of the proportionality between the products and the users. Since the designs are meant to be in constant association with humans, they must take forms that facilitate this relationship (Karwowski 2001). This is enhanced by designs that reduce harmful vibrations, designs that are smooth, designs that compensate for the gravity such as Baxter, and application of control systems that do not require contact. The ergonomic considerations can only be avoided at the place work through the elimination of the association of people and the machines at work. The overall objective of ergonomics remains to be the reduction of the strains by the humans (Dekker et al. 2013).

Technology plays a vital role in the achievement of ergonomically suitable working conditions. Foremost, it would not be possible to compensate for gravity in chairs and other working equipment if the technology is not applied. The force and weight are comfortable measured using technological tools. Dynamometers, for instance, would be useful in the determination of energy. Moreover, technology provides various software that is useful in analysis such as NIOSH and 3 D modeling software. On the other hand, it becomes suitable to make the much-needed designs to suit every person within the population by the use of the automated manufacturing systems. All that is required in this case is a model then the machines would be able to make similar copies without any hindrance automatically. Technology has provided accessible and useful methods of data collection and analysis allowing the realization of the niches in the working environment (Wilson 2014).

The condition of ill-health that is of concern in this situation is a muscle-skeletal disorder that is sometimes also referred to as an ergonomic disorder. According to research, most companies have incurred so much loss due to this condition; it is reported that most injuries in offices are due to slips, falls and even tripling that normally arise from the bad designs of workstations or floors (Wahlstrom 2005). The wrong designs of the furniture or rather workstations cause strains of various body muscles thus resulting in muscle-skeletal disorder. It is a common phenomenon to have people working with computers or other office equipment. Of course, the contribution of silicon technology has brought into existence more portable and user-friendly computers and equipment. However, the inception of all these ideas begins with their dimensions analysis with regards to the user's comfortable position of use (Robertson and O'Neill, 2003).

Several risk factors expose people to the challenge of ergonomics disorder. For instance, awkward sitting postures would results into pains and strains in the back or neck or even the limbs. Contact stress also juxtaposes the workers to the muscle-skeletal disorder. Repetitive movement and vibrations also expose some to having this disorder (Dul and Neumann 2009). The aim of ergonomics is to ensure that the impacts of the risk factors are at the bare minimum. This is one of the best ways of ensuring that health status of all the workers is considered. In fact, exposing working workers to poor working conditions that would hamper their health should be considered a criminal offense to promote the acquisition of new designs that encourage comfortable and healthy working environment (Zink et al. 2013).

Wrist extension can mainly take three forms which include flexion, supination, and pronation. While deviation occurs mainly at the ulnar this is the movement of bending the wrist of either the ulnar, small fingers or right wrist. Ergonomics has impacted even to the fingers or hands as a result of the movement or activities of the hand during work. The muscle disorders may sometimes be observed in this part of the armed depending on the nature of the change the hands make while working with different machines. The disease affects tendons majorly due to the repetitiveness of the task at the office. Sometimes the effect could be due to holding onto one position for so long excessive use of force or exposure to vibrations. Parts of improving the equipment used at work, various rules are applied to prevent ergonomics disorder among workers. The basis of these rules is the moderation of all activities partaken (Tillman et al.2016).


Anthropometry deals with the assessing of the dimension and other body physical characteristics, like center of gravity, volumes, masses and properties of the body (Wilson & Sharples, 2015). Anthropometrics is a comparative study of human body properties and measurements. At its basic point, anthropometrics is applicable in the scientific and anthropometric field in understanding the physical variation amongst human beings, especially at the work place. Anthropometrics is essential in offering a wide variety of applications, giving a kind of baseline for human measurement. The ergonomics is based on human anthropometric, anatomical, biomechanical and physiological characteristics in relation to physical activity. The science of anthropometric measurements is applied to occupational injury prevention, and are used in the studying of the workers' interaction with the machines, tasks, tools, vehicles as well as the personal protection equipment, particularly in assessing the extent of protection against exposure, whether acute or chronic (Salvendy, 2001).

The main principles in the application of the anthropometric data are as follows: First, the design for the minimum population value is the recommendable strategy if the low value, in the case where the value of some design feature is provided. Second, the design for extreme population value is the appropriate strategy, only in the case that the high value of the design feature is provided (Easterby, Kroemer, & Chaffin, 1982). .

Given in the case of sitting in front of a computer while performing tasks in the work place. A designer applies the anthropometric data in coming up with the correct decision on the height of the desk as well as the chair. Also, with regards to the distance of the monitor from the user, the Health and Safety rules of the industry, stipulate the standardized distance and the angle of the screen in order for the user to have a clear look at the screen while the eyes muscles are relaxed. While using the mouse or keyboard, the arm of the user is supposed to be straight. In this case, if the elbows are below the wrist, and bending the wrist, then the user is restricting the blood flow in the hand, therefore increasing the chances of damaging them in the long term (Salvendy, 2001)..

In the case of standing at the work station, the work place design ought to accommodate the different employees' size and shape and offers support for the completion of various tasks. The work needs to be ordered such that the employee has some choices regarding his/her working position and provided with the chance to change the position often.

Different types of work have their diverse work surface, for instance when it comes to the surface height:

Light Work, like mechanic jobs or assembly line, just below the elbow height.

The precision work, for example, electronic assembly or writing, it is 4 inches above elbow height.

Heavy Work, that has a demanding downward force, it is 4 to 6 inches below height.

The anthropometric data is appl...

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