CHAPTER 3ERGONOMICS: ACHIEVING SYSTEM BALANCE THROUGH ERGONOMIC ANALYSIS AND CONTROL

GRACIELA M. PEREZ

Department of Work Environment, College of Engineering, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Lowell, MA, 01854

3.1 INTRODUCTION

Healthy work systems require a balance between the task, the technology, the organization, the environment, and the individual (Figure 3.1). When any one of these basic connections is not functioning optimally, the work system is impaired (Hosey 1973). For example, such a system would recognize where humans excel and where machines excel, and the work system would then be balanced accordingly (Table 3.1). When humans work in environments that are not compatible with their strengths, the workers may become injured or ill. Thus a healthy work system is designed to optimize the human–machine interface and keep workers safe and healthy.

Illustration of the balance of health work systems, with individuals interconnected to technology, organization, environment, and task.

Figure 3.1 Balance of health work systems.

TABLE 3.1 Basic Strengths of Humans and Machines

Human strengths over machines
  • Sensitive to a wide variety of stimuli
  • Ability to react to unexpected, low‐probability events
  • Ability to exercise judgment where events cannot be completely defined
  • Perception of patterns and ability to make generalizations about them
Machine strength over humans
  • Perform routine, repetitive, or very precise operations
  • Exert great force, smoothly and with precision
  • Operate in environments ...

Get Handbook of Occupational Safety and Health, 3rd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.