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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 62-63

Scope of ergonomics in ensuring improvement of the health sector

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication16-Mar-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2277-8632.153336

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of ergonomics in ensuring improvement of the health sector. J NTR Univ Health Sci 2015;4:62-3

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Scope of ergonomics in ensuring improvement of the health sector. J NTR Univ Health Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Feb 4];4:62-3. Available from: https://www.jdrntruhs.org/text.asp?2015/4/1/62/153336


Ergonomics is the "science of work" that encompasses different measures to ensure fitting the workplace to the worker. [1] It takes account of the worker's capabilities and limitations in seeking to warrant that tasks, equipment, information and the environment suit each worker so that the level of safety (viz., related injuries and disorders); workers related parameters (viz., comfort, job satisfaction, efficiency, reduced compensation cost and employee turnover) can be improved. [2],[3] In order to assess the fit between a person and their work, ergonomists consider three main parameters, namely the job and the demands on the worker; the device used (its size, shape and how appropriate it is for the task); and the information used (how it is presented, accessed and changed). [2],[4]

A part from the industry, the principles of ergonomics have been extensively employed in multiple facets of healthcare delivery such as designing of physical environment/health care system (viz., layout and organization of workstations); [5] work organization and culture (viz., management of workload, inadequate staffing and lack of education); [6] design, development and deployment of interactive medical devices including robotic devices; [7] prevention of chronic diseases by minimizing job and psychological stress; [8] reducing or mitigating medication errors; [9] ensuring patient safety - to eliminate hazards that contribute to patient falls; [10],[11] and marketing of safe medical products. [12]

Currently, the main purpose of ergonomics is to reduce work stressors so that any untoward health consequence can be averted. [3] These work stressors (viz., excessive repetition, forceful exertions, static postures, cold temperature, vibrations, compression, awkward movements and poor work-station design) promote repetitive or cumulative injuries and thus aggravates the incidence of common musculoskeletal disorders like tendonitis, epicondylitis, bursitis, trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. [4] In addition, absence of ergonomically planned job has resulted in physical hazards (viz., temperature, light, noise, vibration and radiations) chemical/biological hazards; psychosocial hazards; sickness absenteeism; occupational cancers; and accidents. [1],[2],[4]

In order to minimize the burden of the occupational hazards, especially in the health care sector, there is a need to essentially pay attention to interests of all the stakeholders. [7] In other words, there is an obligation to streamline the entire process of health care to ensure facilitation of ergonomically advocated practices. [2] The proposed measure ranges from ensuring proper layout of the establishment; creating awareness among the hospital staff about the occupation hazards and need of using personal protective equipments/following the standardized protocol; implementing appropriate measures to maintain sanitation within the premises and thus control of infectious diseases; developing a protocol for conducting a medical examination of the health care workers, especially nursing and housekeeping staff, to permit early recognition of signs and symptoms of occupation-induced illnesses; and by adopting suitable engineering measures to facilitate mechanization, reduce human workload, and simultaneously ensure patient safety. [1],[2],[6],[10],[11]

To conclude, the scope of ergonomics has significantly expanded in the health sector over the years and thus there is an indispensable need to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure safety of both health professionals and patients.

  References Top

Park K. Occupational health. In: Park K, editor. Text Book of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20 th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot Publishers; 2009. p. 708-19.  Back to cited text no. 1
Izumi H. The role of ergonomics in occupational health - past and future. J UOEH 2013;35 Suppl:127-31.  Back to cited text no. 2
Wilson JR. Fundamentals of systems ergonomics/human factors. Appl Ergon 2014;45:5-13.  Back to cited text no. 3
Rehman R, Khan R, Surti A, Khan H. An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of wit - ergonomics is a healthy choice. PLoS One 2013;8:e71891.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ferris TK. Evidence-based design and the fields of human factors and ergonomics: Complementary systems-oriented approaches to healthcare design. HERD 2013;6:3-5.  Back to cited text no. 5
Rogers B, Buckheit K, Ostendorf J. Ergonomics and nursing in hospital environments. Workplace Health Saf 2013;61:429-39.  Back to cited text no. 6
Vincent CJ, Li Y, Blandford A. Integration of human factors and ergonomics during medical device design and development: it's all about communication. Appl Ergon 2014;45:413-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Punnett L, Warren N, Henning R, Nobrega S, Cherniack M, CPH-NEW Research Team. Participatory ergonomics as a model for integrated programs to prevent chronic disease. J Occup Environ Med 2013;55:S19-24.  Back to cited text no. 8
Leape LL, Bates DW, Cullen DJ, Cooper J, Demonaco HJ, Gallivan T, et al. Systems analysis of adverse drug events. ADE Prevention Study Group. JAMA 1995;274:35-43.  Back to cited text no. 9
Hignett S, Masud T. A review of environmental hazards associated with in-patient falls. Ergonomics 2006;49:605-16.  Back to cited text no. 10
Carayon P, Xie A, Kianfar S. Human factors and ergonomics as a patient safety practice. BMJ Qual Saf 2014;23:196-205.  Back to cited text no. 11
Norris B, West J, Anderson O, Davey G, Brodie A. Taking ergonomics to the bedside: A multi-disciplinary approach to designing safer healthcare. Appl Ergon 2014;45:629-38.  Back to cited text no. 12


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