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As all sciences, the root of the study of ergonomics is also believed to have started with the

process of human evolution itself. The quest to search for the natural fit between the humans and
their tools is assumed to have started in the early stages of the development of the human
species. Pre-historic men discovered and engineered many different tools to fit their needs of
bare necessities like hunting and eating.

The study of creation of everyday instruments like hammers and axes followed as we developed
from century to century. With time the tools were engineered with understanding and study to
make them work better for us. Later in the industrial age, people invented more sophisticated
machines and equipment to improve working mechanism to yield better product output.

The relationship between the factors of human occupational injuries and engineering of work
tools is found to have been documented long time ago. It proves that work in the field of
ergonomics had been started centuries ago. The term ergonomics however, came up in 1857 in a
philosophical writings of Wojciech Jastrzebowski. In 19th century, Fredric Winslow Taylor
introduced 'Scientific Management' proposing ways to improve productivity in factories. Frank
and Lilian Gilberth built on that principal to develop 'Time and Motion Studies' theory in the
1900s. The theory deals with ways to improve performance by cutting down unnecessarily steps
and improving tools in a factory production line.

World War II is said to be an important catalyst in the rapid growth of the study of ergonomics.
It incited greater interest in human-machine interest. The period saw the development of
complex machinery and weaponry. People understood more clearly the importance of the role
played by factors like decision making, situational awareness and hand-eye coordination of the
workers or machine operators, for the successful conclusion of a given job. A lieutenant in the
US army, Alphonse Chapanis, found out in 1943, that human error in air traffic accidents could
be reduced to a great extent by changing the control panel design to make it simple, logical and
hence, easy to operate.

With that started the research on relationship between muscle force and manual task,
cardiovascular reaction in heavy work performance, maximum work load that can be carried out
etc.
The field of study grew further in later centuries to encompass human attributes like decision
making process, design of the organization, design-perception relation and human behavior.
These came to be known as the human factor, or cognitive ergonomics. Industrial ergonomics
was coined to refer to the field of study involving physical aspect of the work space.

As we reach this day and age, ergonomics is a complex science of a combination of physics,
biology, psychology, engineering, design, management etc. Experts working in the further
development of the subject are the student of all these different field of studies. It involves
understanding ways to provide greater safety, health and comfort in the work space. The
discipline works to study and improve the techniques in making human performance better and
yielding optimum output by re-structuring and rearranging of office equipment, furniture,
process, management style etc

When we began writing about Ergonomics more than 30 years ago, we were simply attempting
to bring more scientific perspective to a common sense issue. If you consider the capabilities and
limitations of the worker in the design of the workplace, the worker will be more productive and
that productivity contributes to profit.

At the time we had no idea that the topic of ergonomics would become so widely discussed, by
so many people, in so many professions, with so many agendas. Despite all of the politics and
hoopla, our view today is the same as it was 30 years ago. The practical application of ergonomic
principles is core business proposition. Yes, it is about reducing worker fatigue and the risk of
worker injury, which are very worthwhile objectives. However, the real desired benefit driving
factory or warehouse investment is increased productivity and an improved bottom line. That's
what investment in practical ergonomics produces and that is the point we have been making for
decades.

Improvement in productivity from the use of ergonomic equipment is easier to achieve and more
important than ever. Lean manufacturing requires minimizing material handling and any
approach to the products described in this website can do just that. In an effort to demonstrate
that ergonomic equipment will "pay for itself" we have developed a simple cost justification
wheel. It shows how percentage gains in productivity can usually provide full payback of
equipment costs in just a few months. If you would like a ROI wheel, just give us a call and we'll
be happy to send you one.

USING ERGONOMICS

How do we use ergonomics? Ergonomics incorporates elements from many subjects including
anatomy, physiology, psychology and design. Agronomists apply their diverse knowledge to
ensure that products and environments are comfortable, safe and efficient for people to use.

Ergonomics can be used in every possible sphere of our lives. But we have tried to focus on some
of the important aspects, where ergonomics should not be ignored.