Ergonomics : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Ergonomics

This site provides ergonomics information and resources to workplaces across the province. This type of information will be particularly useful for addressing injuries and complaints affecting 'workers' muscles, tendons, joints, and other soft tissues of the body (often referred to as musculoskeletal injuries, repetitive strain injuries, or cumulative trauma).'s a word we hear more often now, but what does it really mean? Is it something to do with our computer, our chair, our posture, or is it related to how our cars are designed?? It has something to do with all of these things. Formal Definition:

The science that seeks to design tools, equipment, products, systems, tasks, procedures, and environments to be compatible with human capabilities and limitations.

Simply stated, ergonomics looks at designing work to fit people. To expand on this, 'work' includes many components including:

  • tools, equipment and furniture
  • products we use
  • tasks and procedures
  • the layout of workstations and work areas
  • the physical environment
  • the organization of how we work.

The term 'people' implies that we address the broad range of physical, mental, and social characteristics that people possess. That means tall, short, strong, weak, experienced, inexperienced, etc.

Ergonomics aims to design to make the most of people's capabilities without exceeding their collective limitations. When this does not happen, people make mistakes, injuries develop, and people are not happy or productive at their work.

For example, if a pair of metal-cutting shears (scissors) are too large and heavy for small-handed users, those people will have difficulty using the shears properly and their hand and arm muscles will tire quickly. In the long run, these people probably won't be very productive at their cutting task, and they will be at higher risk of developing an injury.
On the other hand, when we do consider the users in setting up their 'work', people can be healthy, comfortable, productive, and satisfied with their work. It's a win-win situation for workers and employers!

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