Ergonomics is an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely. It is also called human engineering. Ergonomics is based on the principle that the job should be adapted to fit the person, rather than forcing the person to fit the job. It focuses design and function of the work environment, and items such as work stations, controls, displays, safety devices, tools, and lighting to fit the employees’ physical requirements and to ensure their health and well being.
Ergonomics includes restructuring or changing workplace conditions to make the job easier, and reducing stressors that cause cumulative trauma disorders and repetitive motion injuries. In the area of material handling and storage, ergonomic principles may require controls such as reducing the size or weight of the objects lifted, installing mechanical lifting aids, or changing the height of a pallet or shelf.
Although no approach has been found for totally eliminating back injuries resulting from lifting materials, a substantial number of lifting injuries can be prevented by implementing an effective ergonomics program and by training employees in appropriate lifting techniques.