- The application of ergonomics in the working environment is necessary for the prevention of accidents at work and work-related illnesses.
- Physical ergonomics deals with, for example, working positions, material handling, repetitive movements and workplace organisation.
- Cognitive ergonomics deals with mental workload, decision-making process, reliability, and work stress.
Ergonomics is the study of the most favourable ways, means and environment for human activities and deals with the adaptation of work, work equipment and conditions to the most suitable for the employee.
Ergonomics is divided into:
- Physical ergonomics is related to human anatomical, anthropological and physiological features and physical activity. Physical ergonomics deals with, for example, working positions, material handling, repetitive movements and workplace organisation.
- Cognitive ergonomics is associated with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reaction, and motor memory, all of which affect the interaction between man and the environment. Cognitive ergonomics also deals with mental workload, the decision-making process, reliability, and work stress.
- Organisational ergonomics involves communication, organising team resources, designing work and working hours, teamwork, participatory design, collaboration, organisational culture, virtual organisations, and teleworking.
The application of ergonomics in the working environment is necessary for the prevention of accidents at work as well as work-related illnesses. The use of ergonomic working methods and equipment and the adaptation of work, the workplace and work organisation to the employee's needs as much as possible increase the employee's productivity and ensure their ability to work.
Ergonomists are occupational health professionals who design and evaluate work tasks, occupations, products, organisations, environments and systems to make them as human-friendly as possible and to match human needs, abilities and limitations. In doing their work, the ergonomist must take into account physical, cognitive, social, organisational, environmental and other relevant factors.
Occupational health service providers (including ergonomists) are registered with the Health Board.
Duties of an ergonomist
The duties of an ergonomist are as follows:
- identification of physiological and psychological risk factors in the working environment during the risk assessment and analysis of their possible impact on the employee's health;
- advising the employer on the ergonomic design of the workplace and the adaptation of the work to the employee, taking into account the employee's physical and mental abilities as well as gender and age characteristics;
- advising the employer on the choice and safe use of work equipment.
Ergonomic design of the workplace
The visual distance must be proportional to the work object: small objects require shorter visual distances and a higher work surface. It is recommended to place objects that are constantly compared from a short distance (less than one metre) at the same distance from the eyes.
Angle of view
The most frequently observed object must be placed in front of the employee, in the centre. The recommended viewing angle (measured from the horizon of the eye) varies between 15 and 45 degrees, depending on the working position.
Sufficient legroom is required for sedentary work. The recommended legroom is at least 60 cm wide and at least 45 cm deep at knee height and 65 cm above the floor. When standing, it is necessary to allow 15 cm space in front of the foot. The recommended free space behind an upright worker must be at least 90 cm if no weights are to be moved. If weights are moved, a more detailed assessment of the workplace and employment is needed.
The seat in constant use should be:
- height adjustable,
- with breathable padding
- and adjustable backrest.
A seat with multiple users must be easily adjustable. The need for a seat with a high backrest and adjustable armrests depends on the work to be done. There must be a high seat for standing workers that can be used temporarily for support and rest.
The size, shape, weight and surface material of hand tools must allow good grip and comfortable use. Their use must not cause physical overload. Vibration and noise levels must be as low as possible. Other work equipment, such as components, control and command equipment, supports, jigs, and lifting and moving aids, must be comfortable, practical and easy to use.