I went to bed with an ergonomics problem and woke up with a wellness program?
Kent Hatcher 4/10/08
Despite the fact that the word ERGONOMICS is used quite frequently, it seems to be one of those terms that is often mis-used or in fact, misunderstood. Here is a recent post from a random website discussing the subject (Healthzine)
“Ergonomics is said to be an efficient manner of moving and doing
activities. It primarily has to do with proper posture and the use of
ergonomic furniture. Exercises as well are involved in ergonomics.”
Let’s look at the facts, shall we. ISO 6385 defines ergonomics as the “scientific discipline concerned with the underlying interactions among human and other elements of a system, and the profession that applied theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize well-being and overall system performance.”
Similarly, NIOSH defines occupational ergonomics as “the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population. Ergonomics is an approach or solution to deal with a number of problems – among them are work-related musculoskeletal disorders.”
Simply put, ergonomics is designing the living/working environment to fit the capabilities of people.
What is not in any real definition of ergonomics is exercise. The purpose of exercise and stretching is to change the capabilities (ex. range of motion, strength, endurance) of an individual. Ergonomics is about designing the environment to fit the people (ex.tools, furniture, layout).
Exercise and stretching are critical and valuable elements of wellness…NOT ergonomics.
Is your wellness program masquerading as an ergonomics initiative?