The Definition of Ergonomics and the Risks Involved in the Worker, Task, and Environment

Ergonomics studies how to design and use equipment and other physical factors so that people can work in the best conditions. Ergonomics aims to improve people’s lives by ensuring they are free of problems such as back pain, muscle pain, or strain. It includes providing the most efficient equipment to do a task and is easy to use. It also includes making sure that the workplace is organized so that everything needed to do the work is there and accessible. 

The best ergonomics designs consider the size, weight, and shape of objects, how people move and how much load can be put on people. Multiple techniques are tried to determine the best to ensure that ergonomic design is done correctly. Human factors engineering looks at the equipment and how it can be designed better. Environmental psychology looks at the workplace itself and how that affects workers.

What is the Definition of Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of designing a system or object that people can use most efficiently and safely. It is a technique for designing workplace tools, hardware, computers, and other things. Ergonomics involves thinking about how something is working and whether it is easy to use or not to enable individuals to accomplish their jobs more effectively, resulting in increased production. 

One of the ergonomics goals is to ensure that equipment or tools are easy for people to use. An ergonomic design should be easy to learn, simple to operate, and put minimal strain on workers.

What are the Risks Involved for the Workers?


The risks involved for workers in ergonomic problems include pain, stress, and strain. Some of these problems may be less prominent but can cause headaches, back pain, and muscle pain. The more the physical stress placed on a worker by an object, the greater the danger of these disorders. 

When something increases a worker’s workload, it puts more pressure on that person’s musculoskeletal system, causing strain or injury. People may not notice the weight on their shoulders or the strain on their back until they get sick. Many different types of equipment and objects can cause ergonomic problems in workers.

Jobs that have Repetitive Tasks

A significant musculoskeletal ailment is a substantial concern for workers who perform repetitive tasks. The muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other parts of the joints can become inflamed or injured due to repetitive tasks. This inflammation can cause pain and joint stiffness. 

Eventually, this leads to loss of movement in the joints. Repetitive movements make it easy to develop these problems because they involve the same type of movement repeatedly. 

The more a worker does that same movement, the more likely they are to have musculoskeletal disorders. The problem is worse for workers doing repetitive tasks or multiple times daily.

Workers who have Awkward Postures

The workers having awkward postures are at the risk of neck pain. When the neck muscles get strained or injured, this may cause pain, stiffness, and itch in the arms and hands. It also increases the risk of tendinitis and inflammation in the hand and wrist tendons. 

This can result in discomfort, swelling, and damage, causing movement issues and affecting physical and mental health.

Workers in Jobs with a Lot of Drops and Falls

Workers in drop and fall-prone work settings are at a greater risk for an injury than workers in other occupations. Workers who perform tasks involving many drops, falls, or jolts have the most significant injury rate. 

For example, landscapers and construction workers are more likely to experience a back or shoulder injury from falling from heights than office workers who spend most of their day sitting at a desk. Workers in careers that involve lifting, dragging, and yard work may also be more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).

Workers who have Jobs Involving Computer Use

The risk for workers who have a job that involves computer use is poor physical health. These problems are more challenging to understand because they have other causes besides bone strain or muscle strain. The increased stress on the spine from sitting at a computer for long periods can lead to disc problems. 

This causes inflammation in the discs causing pain and stiffness, but it can also cause nerve damage affecting breathing, heart rate, digestion, and other body functions.

Workers who have Jobs Involving Standing in One Place

Leg pain is a risk for workers who have to stand in one place. The muscles and tendons in the legs get strained or injured from too much strain on them. This strain can cause pain, numbness, and weakness of the muscles and tendons in the legs. 

If not addressed promptly, these problems can result in fractures and other injuries because the increased compression on the discs in the lower back can create these issues. The increased compression on the discs causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness, leading to nerve damage affecting breathing, heart rate, digestion, and other body functions.

What are the Risks Involved for the Task and Environment?

The risks for the task and environment include exposure to hazardous materials, noise, and heat. These problems can lead to tissue burns, cuts, puncture wounds, and crushing injuries. The workplace environment can cause these problems because of minimal lighting or poor ventilation, which causes health issues like breathing difficulty, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting. 

Hazards in the workplace cause these types of risks because they are a part of the work environment that can cause trauma or physical harm to workers.


The risk of noise includes hearing damage. This is when the eardrum ruptures or is in flames, causing pain, inflammation, and swelling in the ear. The damage to the ear can cause pain and loss of hearing. This also causes damage to the nervous system, leading to vertigo, dizziness, or fainting.



The risk for heat exposure includes a combination of heat exposure and dehydration. This is when workers become dehydrated. The damaged organs and body tissues begin to fail and fail faster than the body can replace them. 

As the body starts to fall, the functions begin to slow down. This leads to heart failure, organ failure, stroke, stroke-like episodes, seizures, and death.

Hazardous Materials

The risk of hazardous materials exposure includes working with corrosive or toxic chemicals that can cause eye pain. These chemicals cause damage to the cornea, leading to pain, light sensitivity, and vision problems. Exposure to these chemicals can also cause loss of sense of smell, hearing, and speech.

Cuts and Punctures

The risk of cuts and punctures includes a combination of cuts and punctures and choking on their blood. Workers are injured from contacting something sharp, causing cuts and puncture wounds. Another concern occurs when the wound fills with blood, but the worker can’t cough or swallow it due to unconsciousness caused by the injury.

Crushing Injuries

The risk of crushing injuries includes being crushed by objects, which can cause fractures, scratches, or bruises to the skin and underlying tissues. Crushing injuries can also destroy internal organs causing bleeding within the body and leading to death. Crushing injuries can also lead to other injuries like nerve damage, nerve pain, loss of hearing, and organ damage.

What Type of Worker is Most at Ergonomics Risk in the Workplace?

The workers who are most at risk for ergonomics are those in jobs that require repetitive tasks, frequent lifting and carrying, prolonged sitting and standing, awkward postures, or tasks involving heavy machinery. The most significant risks come from repetitive tasks. 


The more a worker repeats a task repeatedly, the greater the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders such as tendonitis, which is inflammation of the tendons around the joints. This is why workers need to take frequent breaks and move around or perform other tasks that relax and stretch the muscles.

Below are the following types of workers who are the most at risk for ergonomics in the workplace:

Workers Under 18 Years of Age

The workers who are the most at risk for ergonomics are under 18 because they are still growing and developing. Their bones and muscles aren’t fully developed, making them more likely to develop musculoskeletal disorders. 

Workers under 18 are also more likely to experience musculoskeletal disorders because they lack working experience, which can make them unaware of potential hazards in their workplace.

Workers with Impaired Strength, Balance, or Motor Skills

The workers at most risk for ergonomics are those at work with insufficient strength, balance, or motor skills. These workers include the elderly because their body loses muscle mass and coordination as they age, making it more challenging to complete tasks that require strength, balance, and coordination.

What Should Employers Do to Reduce these Risks?

Employers should first learn about ergonomic principles and risks, which will help them recognize potential hazards and take action to prevent injuries. Employers can use adjustable stool heights for the different tasks their workers experience to help prevent injuries that come from repeated sitting. 

The employer can also provide fixed rest periods throughout each shift so workers can change their positions and stretch their legs to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

An employer should take the following steps to reduce workplace injuries:

Improvements in Workplace Conditions

The guidelines for working conditions include providing safety equipment, a safe work environment, and training to workers. First, employers can ensure that the work environment is safe and clean, and they should provide safety equipment such as eye protection, respiratory protection, and hearing protection. 

Employers may also provide other equipment like handrails that workers can use to help prevent or lessen injuries when they are injured while doing their jobs.

Compliance with Work Procedures

Compliance with work procedures includes safety rules to follow and records to keep. All the workers should know these safety rules and follow them. For example, the employer can require that their workers wear appropriate protective clothing such as helmets, earplugs, or hearing protection when doing their jobs. 

The employer should also be sure to keep accurate records of injuries so they can take steps to prevent future injuries from occurring.

Training Should be Provided

The training that the employer gives its workers will help them recognize the hazards in their workplace and take steps to prevent them from occurring. They can do this by taking frequent breaks, moving around from workstation to workstation, stretching, and performing other tasks that relax and strengthen their muscles.


Ergonomics is the process of designing a job or activity to benefit the worker. It requires workers and their employers to work together so that the worker can do their job efficiently and effectively without getting injured. 

The worker can’t only rely on themselves, as they also have to rely on their employers to create a safe working environment. Ergonomics is a branch of occupational safety and health that deals with the physical work environment of workers. 

It focuses on minimizing the risks associated with ergonomic diseases, or musculoskeletal disorders, which develop through repetitive use of the body’s muscles, tendons, or bones.

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