“Fitting the Person to the Task Not the Task to the Person”

This could be considered to be the “tagline” of ergonomics.  What the science of ergonomics aims to do is to make sure that the work that people do is changed to fit them, not the other way around.  The most effective way to do this is to make sure that everything that can be adjustable, is adjustable.  Take for instance, an office worker:

  • The office chair needs to be adjustable in height, depth, amount of back support, angle, and more (see previous posts);
  • The keyboard and mouse heights need to be adjustable to accommodate 90 degrees of flexion at the elbows;
  • The monitor height needs to be adjustable to accommodate proper height;
  • The hard copy needs to have an adjustable height to avoid neck flexion and rotation.

And for an assembly line worker:

  • The conveyor belt or other surface needs to be height adjustable to accommodate workers of all heights to reduce awkward postures in the neck, shoulders and back;
  • The tools needs to have proper sized grips to accommodate all hand sizes to reduce hand, wrist and arm awkward postures;
  • The tasks need to be rotated throughout the line so that the same types of tasks are not performed all day resulting in repetition and overuse;
  • Any heavier lifting needs to be assisted with a lift or table or an alternate way to transport must be found.

If workers are made to fit into a workstation or work area without any opportunity to adjust it to fit their bodies, discomfort and injuries are likely to ensue.  The worker is the most important part of the process – their comfort and abilities must be considered first.

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3 thoughts on ““Fitting the Person to the Task Not the Task to the Person”

  1. Very interesting. I think most employers are more focused on fitting the task to the person as they want one simple solution for all employees despite the fact that people have different builds, physical limitations, and historical injuries. I enjoy reading your blog. Keep it up!

    Reply
  2. Great post! I think this is a topic that most employers don’t take the time to think about and quite frankly, aren’t educated about. It is hard to expect everyone to conform to one position when everyone is different.

    Reply

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