Ergonomics is becoming an increasingly important field of science. It works to understand and adapt to people s physical and mental limitations in the workplace. The data collected from studies on these types of things could be used to ease the use of products, and in adapting to environments. Ergonomics is used to prevent illnesses that are sometimes caused by repeating a task over and over again. This overextends some muscles while completely ignoring others, thus causing an imbalance in the worker.
Ergonomics is a fairly new field of science. It is a sector branched off of more established areas like engineering, physiology, and psychology. Ergonomics was originated during World War Two, and was known as human factoring. During this time period, researchers were creating new products without considering the consumers limitations or the environments they would be using them. They decided that they would have to adapt their products to fit the needs of the consumer.
In one ergonomic related research project, the researchers compared the relative position of the controls on a lathe to the size of the average male worker. It was found that the operator would have to stoop and move from side to side in order to operate the lathe controls. They said An ideal sized person would have to be just 4.5 feet tall, 2 feet across the shoulders, and have an arm span of 8 feet. (Source: The Ergonomics Society)
Careers in human factoring, or ergonomics, are increasing in the job market. Quality control engineers use ergonomics everyday in their job, where they need to know the limitations of the consumer in order to please them. A quality control engineer works to prevent customer dissatisfaction with their product. An example would be an engineer that designs the alignment of the steering wheel in relation to the seat. They must set it up so almost anyone would be able to operate the car safely.
There are programs available in this ergonomics at the University of Michigan, University of Arizona, and Virginia Technical Institute. In fact, the University of Michigan has a whole sector devoted to ergonomics. It offers industrial and operations engineering, occupational ergonomics, biomedical engineering, and environmental and industrial hygiene. All these jobs salaries range from $40,000 and up into the high 200 s. You can get farther with master s degree but bachelor s degree s can get you into most well-paying jobs. There are many organizations involved in ergonomics. They include Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Center for Ergonomics and Safety Research (CESR), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and The Ergonomics Society.
Ergonomics can improve our quality of life for the future. It is important to create a safe and productive environment for the employee to work. If the worker is happy with their environment, more work gets done and there is more job satisfaction. Continued research in ergonomics can make our lives better.