Research on Ergonomics

According to Brinkerhoff (2009), ergonomics means working laws. It is governed by the principles of a working environment which is incorporated by the policies that enhance workers safety. It is concerned with the principles, theories, and information that are designed to ensure the well-being of the general performance. In the contemporary context, ergonomics is used to define the design of approaches that are used to allow job specifics to fit the worker and not the other way round. It includes: adapting the furniture, lighting, heating, and cooling, and the placement of equipment to make the office space beneficial to the worker (Burton, Kilgour, Kilgour, Rogers, Rutherford, Shelton, 2014, p. 80). Ergonomics can be broken down to 3 disciplines: physical ergonomics, relating to the body’s physical workload, cognitive ergonomics, deals with capabilities at work based on psychological processes, and lastly, corporate ergonomics which addresses socio-technical of the corporate together with its methods, structures, procedures, and policies. The topic of ergonomics was decided because the office field is continuously changing and it is crucial when working in the office field, to eliminate workplace injuries whenever and wherever possible. The office should be a safe, comfortable, healthy and productive place (Burton, Kilgour, Kilgour, Rogers, Rutherford, Shelton, 2014, p. 80). The topic ergonomics was chosen for the fact that not every person’s needs, within an office environment, are the same. There are so many little adaptations that can be and would need to be made, to ensure one’s job is physically better in the long term. Especially, since the majority of the workday involves sitting at a writing desk, looking at a PC screen. Not only does the equipment used daily make an impact, but so do the surroundings and office setting. It is essential for employees to know what their rights are in getting proper equipment, furniture, lighting, and any other ergonomic needs, to help the success rate of the office. Since everyone is an individual with different needs, following and implementing ergonomics in the workplace is beneficial. Everyone wants to be safe and comfortable while working: So gaining more in-depth knowledge on ergonomics will help not only the employees succeed but also the office itself.

Ergonomics has a massive impact on the office, both positive and negative. There are a few ways that ergonomics impacts humanity on a daily scale. One of the most common ways people are influenced ergonomically is the physical demands that are required to be effective in the workplace. Proper, or inadequately, conceived furniture is something that can make all the difference to the operator. For example, modifiable desks and chairs can define our posture and determine the difference by avoiding the development of musculoskeletal disorders (Burton, Kilgour, Kilgour, Rogers, Rutherford, Shelton, 2014, p. 80). According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (2016), lighting is another crucial factor to consider. Improper use of lightning may cause “problems viewing paperwork or monitors, eye irritation, blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches, and dry-burning eyes.” It is important to know that extreme lighting will cause surfaces to be too reflective, while insufficient lighting will produce poor visibility. Properly lit workstations can impact whether or not you will suffer from problems such as sore or painful muscles in your upper extremities. Temperature is a crucial part of wellbeing and efficiency (CCOHS, 2016, para. 1). A space that is too hot or cool is counterproductive; it may cause problems from exhaustion, to an interruption in work output (CCOHS, 2016, para. 2). Sustaining a continuous temperature is vital; slight variations can cause tension. Employees who are under strain will be notably more aware of unpleasant environments (CCOHS, 2016, para. 3). These are just a few of the many ways that ergonomics physically impacts you in the workplace.

However, there is also a connection between physical and cognitive ergonomics. Cognitive ergonomics may be just as, or even more important than the physical ergonomics because it is all about your mental well-being. Stress is an integral part of the workplace; but if you are becoming overwhelmed, this is a negative impact of ergonomics. Not having appropriate training makes it difficult to navigate new technologies, or balance work amount expectations (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 2016, para. 6). Sometimes a member of the staff has the struggle to arise with occupational stress concerning the worker’s power to effectively tackle the optimal level of work challenges. As it worsens, this becomes a growing concern with lack of one’s ability to manage one’s situation causing higher levels of pressure (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 2016, para. 2). We should remember that a certain amount of pressure is natural. It enables us to function and excel in everyday trials. It allows us to achieve day to day tasks while accomplishing objectives and aims (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 2016, para. 5). Whatever way you look at it, there are positive and negative sides to cognitive ergonomics — your ability to cope or not will determine how it impacts on you in the office.

Organizational ergonomics, while having an impact of its own, also incorporates both the physical and the cognitive forms of ergonomics. You cannot have one without the others. Ill-conceived structural fluctuations that are made without consulting staff can be very dis-concerning. Failure to confer with staff leaves personnel with extra pressure and emotional resentment, due to a lack of control in their environment (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 2016, para. 11). While this is an organizational problem, you can see the cognitive issue as well. Workplace design and flow account for a significant impact on the individual in the office. A well laid out office environment can make all the difference, but it is also crucial to have employees input since they will know best what works for them. Poorly designed terminals can lead to all sorts of unseemly issues including health concerns and physical ailments (Burton, Kilgour, Kilgour, Rogers, Rutherford, Shelton, 2014, p.80). Organizational ergonomics is essential to have an efficient workspace, but it is also crucial for the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees. It is vital to take appropriate measures and steps to have a cohesive office that is mutually beneficial.

There are many ways that ergonomics impact our daily life in the office. Without appropriate measures, we can develop a multitude of risk factors anywhere from headaches to musculoskeletal diseases. While there are many ways that ergonomics can have an adverse effect, it can also give us the drive we need to do better in our work. But we do not all fit into one particular mold, so it is up to each of us to learn how we are impacted as individuals and make sure safe ergonomics are set in place.

It is crucial to understand how ergonomics can impact or help you; it is easier to reduce injury and help you gain more knowledge. It is essential to realize that ergonomics is not just about having a proper lifting technique or using an appropriate chair. There are multitudes of ergonomic issues that any employee can face on a day to day basis, and it is vital to know each of them and ways to reduce them. Only a few different issues and their solutions will be touched. The following items that will be discussed are lighting, furniture, position/posture/WMSDs.

The first issue that many people face on a day to day basis is lighting; there are different types of lighting to deal with, both natural and ambient/task lighting. The CCOHS says these are the most common problems from lighting: poorly disturbing light, glare, flicker and insufficient light (CCOHS, 2016, para. 5). Some of the ways to adjust improper brightness is to make sure that you do not have a view directly behind you, a light hitting the computer screen directly causes eyestrain on the worker (Kilgour et al., 2014, p. 81).  Kilgour mentions some ways to reduce glare which are “eliminate the source by closing the blinds or by tilting or moving your monitor” (2014, p.81).  Finally, The CCOHS states the ways to correct insufficient lighting is to replace bulbs and clean the bulbs regularly to ensure they are given off the correct amount of light. Add more light fixtures throughout the workplace and use more light to eliminate shadows (CCOHS, 2016, para. 5).

The second issue that affects many workers is the furniture within the workplace; a lot of employees often do not know the proper ways or needed furniture that should be used in order to help reduce injury. When working in the workplace, it is important to note that the desk is among some of the most important pieces of furniture. Not only is the type of office furniture you use essential, but it is also important to position the objects on it appropriately, and the desk itself, to best suit you. Kilgour states “position your monitor, keyboard, mouse, and telephone in positions that work best for you” (Kilgour et al., 2014, p. 80). Storage space is also a big part of working ergonomically, when working in an office it is best to have appropriate storage space in order to keep everything organized. It will also help reduce the stress that may come with not having everything in place.  Another important piece of furniture in the workplace is the chair you are using. Kilgour states “when the worker is seated, the angle at the knee should be 90 degrees, thighs should be parallel to the floor; the buttocks, not the thighs, should support most of the worker’s weight” (Kilgour et al., 2014, p. 80).  When picking a chair, it is important to assess everything about the chair from the comfort level to the height of the chair, to whether or not it works for you. “The height of the chair seat should be easily adjustable to accommodate the individual’s height and size; the chair should provide adequate back support” (Kilgour et al., 2014, p.80).

The final issue to discuss that can affect a worker’s job performance is position/posture/WMSDs. Often when working in a sitting position, it is easy to fall into a hunched over, awkward situation, when sitting down for extended periods of time. A few when typing at the keyboard are: take frequent of breaks in order to relax your eyes and change your position. Also, it is important to sit with your back straight. Use two hands when typing at the keyboard, relax, but don’t slouch, and use a light touch; do not pound on the keys (Kilgour et al., 2014, p.82). Another issue that affects workers is WMSDs (Work-related musculoskeletal disorders). The Department of Public health and social welfare can take the approach of exposing the negative impacts of something to discourage people from using such things in their day-to-day lives. This approach supports Gatcher’s et al. (2010) idea that sometimes penalty frames are greater motivators of people than reward frames. In the example above, the relevant authorities may be prompted to create awareness for people to give up junk food or face cash penalty in the case of non-compliance (CCOHS, 2016, para. 1). These disorders are often caused by continuous repetitive moments, fixed body positions, or having little to no breaks. WMSDs can be reduced. Use teamwork with everyone helping to deal with the job instead of just one person. Workplace design, and workplace practices and procedures, etc. would be changed in the workplace to help benefit the worker (CCOHS, 2016, para 8).

In inertial, there are three primary forms of ergonomics. They include physical, cognitive and organizational ergonomics. Each one plays a vital role in the performance of an office and its employees. Physical ergonomics refers to office layout and design, to the furniture used, the temperature of the office and lighting. Whereas cognitive ergonomics relates to one’s well-being, and the stress level they are facing. Organizational ergonomics refers to having your workspace organized and functional to suit the worker. All forms of ergonomics are essential to the physical and mental well-being of employees. Failure to arrange for proper office ergonomics can result in workplace injuries including WMSDs (Work-place Musculoskeletal Disorders). These injuries include eye strain, arthritis, muscles aches, carpal tunnel, neck strains, and more. Ergonomics is beneficial in order to prevent stress-related leave. Offices should provide ergonomically correct environments to their employees in order to promote a healthy workspace. Physical, cognitive, and organizational ergonomics have great significance to the performance of employees and offices. Practicing proper ergonomics can result in a more excellent performance of the company.



Brinkerhoff, B. N. (2009). Ergonomics: Design, Integration, and Implementation. New York:

Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Burton, S., Kilgour, L., Rogers, B., Rutherford, M., Shelton, N. (2014): Administrative Procedures for Canadian Office. New Jersey, Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.

Hazards (2016): Ergonomic Hazards. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Retrieved from:

Koch, M. R. (2014): Ergonomics. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science.