All you need to know about ergonomics
Ergonomics – what is it?
“Ergonomics” is about fitting things to people. It’s about fitting things to work, the furniture we use, the products we handle, the systems we follow. Identical in meaning to “human-friendly”, “humanised design”, “idiot-proof”, “user-friendly”, ergonomics uses scientific knowledge of human abilities and human limits to ensure that the world we inhabit and the things we use fit properly, and that they are comfortable, safe and useable.
What do Ergonomists do?
Ergonomists study what people do (and where they do it), then design or modify the tools, the equipment, the surroundings and the methods use, to adapt everything closely to the abilities, strengths and limitations of the user.
What qualifications do ergonomists need?
There are a number of ways to become an ergonomist. Ergonomists often have backgrounds in engineering, architecture, health science, applied health, human movement, psychology, medicine or design. The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia (HFESA) maintains a register. Certified Professional Ergonomists(“CPE”) provide assurance that they are well qualified, experienced and competent in their work. This is a peer-managed qualification sought after by practising Australian ergonomists. If you are considering hiring an ergonomist, you should confirm with HFESA they are a CPE.
Design: how can ergonomics help?
A thorough ergonomics workover will ensure the final design will better fit the actual people who use it – the payoff is greater comfort, safety and productivity. No matter what you’re designing, ergonomics can help. And because we’re engineers too, we are well placed to assess whether your design is ergonomically sound. We can assess the following:
- Product designs & development
- Architectural plans
- Workstation design
- Furniture design & selection
- Floor coverings, treatments
- Workplace fitouts and relocations
- Building Code of Australia compliance (and obtaining exemptions with Alternative Solutions)
- Disability access and compliance
Is ergonomics relevant to my situation?
Yes. Whether you work in an office or a warehouse, an air traffic control tower, a home office or a zoo, a manufacturing plant or driving a tram, ergonomics is relevant to you. Why? Because ergonomics is about how you (and other humans) interact with every element of your environment. Ergonomics looks at how you go about your everyday tasks and the equipment you use, and provides solutions that minimise the risk of injury or harm.
Why should I talk to Dohrmann Consulting?
The Dohrmann Consulting team is unique. Because we are engineers AND ergonomists, we have an analytical, solutions-based approach. We won’t just tell you what the problem is, we’ll partner with you to fix it. We:
- provide fixed fee proposals, so there are no surprises on your invoice
- bring experience providing legal reports and appearing in court – we cross the T’s and dot the I’s for full compliance
- have extensive consulting experience in industries across Australia, and we’ve probably seen your situation before