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The Science of Ergonomics

By Suparna Chakaraborthy

At the end of long working hours, do you suffer from severe back pain? While working in office, most of us have a wrong posture of sitting. Nine hours of office work in an unhealthy posture, is bound to trigger negative results on health. To avoid such complications, make sure your workplace ergonomics are in tune with your requirements.

Ergonomics is another name for Human Factors. It commonly refers to designing the work environment in a manner to maximise safety and efficiency. It is a scientific discipline that seeks to understand human requirements and introduce necessary changes in products, equipments and the work environment, as a whole.

The science of Ergonomics deals with the relationship between people and their technological tools. The equipments at the work place such as the computer, chair and the desk should be designed according to the capabilities and limitations for the human body.

A proper ergonomics design prevents strain and injuries to the nerves, muscles and spinal chord, which otherwise can lead to long term disabilities. Ergonomics should be followed to fulfill two important human goals – health and productivity.

Most of the companies have embraced the essence of workplace ergonomics, as they have realized that designing a safe work environment can result in increased efficiency and productivity. The new US corporate laws requiring a safe work environment have stimulated greater interests in Ergonomics – right from ergonomics furniture to ergonomics training.

It is the duty of the employer to provide safe working conditions and stress free work environment for all the workers. To ensure this, following two things are important:

A) The proper placement of equipments in the workplace

B) Conducting trainings regarding the right working postures

According to workplace ergonomics, the work area should be designed to provide maximum seating comfort. The lumbar (bottom five vertebrate in the spine) needs to be supported to decrease disc pressure. Providing both a seat back that inclines backwards and has a lumbar support is critical to prevent excessive low back pressures. The combination which minimizes pressure on the lower back is having a backrest inclination of 120 degrees. The proper use of armrests is also another important factor in reducing lumbar disc pressure.

The companies should conduct training programmes for the employees to create awareness about workplace postures. After all, the employees are a company"s assets and doesn"t it make sense to ensure that this asset can work most efficiently?

Read more about: posture yoga health
Story first published: Thursday, May 27, 2010, 16:25 [IST]
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