Ergonomists ensure that equipment, facilities and systems are designed and organised to the highest standards of health, comfort, efficiency, and safety for the people using them. According to the Ergonomics Society 'Ergonomics is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use.'
By scientifically studying the relationship between people, environments and equipment, ergonomists can use their findings to improve human interaction with processes/systems. Areas of work include product/equipment design, production systems, information and advanced technology and transport design.
They may work in consultancy, research, development or teaching and may also be called human factors spe******************ts.
Typical work activities
An ergonomist’s work activities vary widely but are always based on ensuring that a system or product meets the needs of the user and will usually include:
* investigating the physical capabilities and limitations of the human body;
* ************ysing how people use equipment and machinery;
* undertaking workplace risk assessments;
* assessing work environments and their effect on users;
* utilising assessment results to identify areas for improvement;
* designing practical solutions to implement these improvements;
* producing user manuals to ensure the best use of new systems or products;
* producing reports of findings and recommendations;
* writing proposals and compiling statistical data;
* using detailed knowledge of the human body to improve the design of products, such as cars and leisure facilities;
* interviewing individuals and observing them in a particular type of environment, as part of the research process;
* liaising with staff at all levels of an organisation to undertake research;
* visiting a range of environments, such as offices and factories, to assess health and safety standards or to investigate workplace accidents;
* providing advice, information and training to colleagues and clients;
* acting as an expert witness in cases of industrial injury;
* developing a clear understanding of how specific industries and their systems work in a short space of time;
* managing sections of projects;
* presenting to clients, conferences and professional societies;
* identifying opportunities for new work.