I recently saw some family members I hadn’t seen in a while, and I asked them what they thought of when they heard the word “ergonomics”. The most common answer was, “those squishy things on desks.” As an ergonomist, it makes me frustrated that wrist rests come to mind, since most people who use wrists rests use them incorrectly! (When using a wrist rest, remember it’s only meant to be used while resting. When keying or mousing, your wrists should be raised and floating to eliminate any pressure on the nerves.)
Another response I receive when I ask this question is “having your office chair set up correctly”. While office ergonomics is very important, it’s actually a small portion of our jobs here at Humantech. We spend most days in a manufacturing setting. Similar to office ergonomics, we are concerned with the postures of the workers when interacting with their workstations.
A third response I often receive when mentioning ergonomics is kitchen gadgets. I always point out that more goes into designing the handle of a pancake flipper than one thinks. Ergonomics also involves looking at the person and how he or she interact with tools. These tools include everything from drills and hammers to pancake flippers and can openers.