Ergonomics is the science of optimizing comfort, efficiency and safety by reducing physical and cognitive stresses through good design and layout practices. Designing tasks, equipment and work areas so they can be used within the physical and cognitive capabilities of the operators is often referred to as “fitting the task to the person”.
Using sound ergonomic principles is important to control the hazards that can contribute to the development of discomfort, pain or from a serious musculoskeletal disorder. Musculoskeletal disorders (abbrev. MSD) is a term that refers to soft tissue injuries that occur gradually over time and can affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and nerves. These injuries can develop when the same muscles are used over long periods without adequate rest. Some common examples of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis and epicondylitis (tennis and golfer’s elbow), trigger finger (gamer’s finger).
Ergonomic hazards generally involve complex interactions between individuals and their surrounding environments. While there aren’t any defining boundaries between safe and unsafe levels for ergonomic hazards, there are a number of guidelines and principles that can be used to minimize the risks associated with MSDs. This section provides information for you to learn about MSD:
- Risk factors (occupational and individual)
- Signs and symptoms
- Control measures
Learn about ergonomics so you can recognize ergonomic hazards in your area and take measures to protect yourself by controlling those risks.
Notify your supervisor immediately if you have any concerns or experience discomfort or pain from work you perform. Remember, early intervention is the key to preventing MSDs!