Ergonomics has been widely studied for nearly 70 years. The process of designing products and workplaces to accommodate the people who use them, ergonomics is a popular area of study for biomedical engineers. It’s important to understand, however, that ergonomics is not a one-size-fits-all affair. There are three primary types of ergonomics: physical, cognitive and organizational. Forming a solid understanding of the various types of ergonomics will prove highly beneficial to anyone with an interest in biomedical engineering.
Physical ergonomics are arguably the most important type of ergonomics, as most employers prioritize physical comfort when trying to accommodate their workers. Physical ergonomics focus on the ways in which people’s bodies interact with the tools they use on a daily basis. Said tools include desk chairs, keyboards and assorted computer equipment. Additionally, the study of physical ergonomics isn’t limited exclusively to office environments. Biomedical engineers also study the tools used by people who work in more physically demanding professions, such as construction and manufacturing. For more information on physical ergonomics, pay a visit to OH&S’s website.
Whereas physical ergonomics tends to focus on individual comfort, organizational ergonomics examines ways to optimize entire workplaces. This entails finding ways to optimize teamwork, improve communications, increase output and bolster the overall quality of a product. Dysfunctional workplaces with high rates of job dissatisfaction often provide biomedical engineers with rich playgrounds in which to work their magic.
Cognitive ergonomics deal with the mind’s ability to process information and interact with data. Finding ways to help people retain data is among the key areas of study for engineers in this field. Furthermore, engineers who work in cognitive ergonomics place a great deal of emphasis on both the design and visibility of safety signs in workplaces. Since both of these factors tie directly into data retention, signs are closely studied by biomedical engineers.
Although ergonomics has been a popular area of study for decades, it’s only recently become a priority for many employers. By keeping people safe and comfortable in their work environments, companies can ensure long-term employee satisfaction and consistently good job performances. If you have a genuine interest in biomedical engineering, it’s imperative that you become well-versed in the basics of ergonomics. Brushing up on physical, organizational and cognitive ergonomics is an absolute must for anyone hoping to study or find a career in the aforementioned field.