Perhaps looking to see how ergonomics determine new products, it would be easier to ask if a particular product is ergonomic or not? Many products for sale today carry labels to define if something is ergonomically friendly or not. But just who is that product ergonomic for? And just because a manufacturer claims that their products are ergonomic, it does not particularly mean that they are.
This is not to say that certain companies are trying to deceive the public, it just means that some well-meaning manufacturers add features that may look ergonomic but do not actually do anything of benefit. For instance adding a cushioned handle to a broom may look ergonomic, but is it really assisting the operator in any shape or form?
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
The debate on if a product is truly ergonomic has been put forward by HFES (Human Factors and Ergonomic Society) for some time now. And they also question exactly what factors make a product truly ergonomic, they are adamant the the following factors also have to be taken into consideration:
- Work space design
- Human capability
- Task and usage
- User anthropometry
So for instance a pair of ergonomic scissors may be designed to have options of size and have larger apertures for bigger hands but they still must be designed to consider the effort required to operate them. This means they may not be ergonomic for all.
Trying to Find an Ergonomic Product to Suit You
To find if a product is truly ergonomic for you it is not just a case of reading a label, there are a few guidelines to help you to determine if that product is truly ergonomic or not. Look at the product first, stand back and evaluate it. Does it look to have been designed ergonomically? Does it look like it will help to reduce risk factors such as, awkward postures? Does it have features that are designed for different environmental conditions like extreme heat or cold? If so then you can be fairly sure it has been designed ergonomically.
The main aim of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society is to educate people just what ergonomics is really all about. It offers ideas for educators to spread this information so that it creates a demand for products that have been designed ergonomically.
The society’s ultimate aim is to encourage ten million people (3% of the adult population of America) to understand ergonomic products and request them. And to educate everybody how ergonomics can be used not only in the workplace but also at home. This all starts with a full understanding of ergonomic design, and how a product or task should be evaluated. Also the rationale that paying extra for a product that has been ergonomically designed can benefit in many other ways. It can reduce the time a task takes, therefore saving money in labor costs.
It can also reduce effort, leaving the operator strong and happy to perform yet another task. All these factors can be considered when choosing an ergonomically designed product, and add the feel good factor of completing a task successfully all adds up to a winning scenario.