Office ergonomics as is the case with other disciplines in ergonomics all emerged in the 1940s during the world war (McCormick and Saunders 1993). Difficulties arouse from soldiers inability to handle technical equipment produced for the war due to physical incompatibility or lack of understanding of the equipment and when the advancements in technology was transferred to the civilian populous after the war, the same problems in human-machine system incompatibility were observed. This led to a study by military personnel, academics psychologists and physiologist all researching on solutions to the complications arising from the operation of the machines (Kumar and Cohn, 2013).
In the year 1949 the term ergonomics was coined from the Greek words “ergo” meaning work and “nomos” meaning law in a meeting attended by distinguished psychologist and physiologist. The same group later formed the ergonomic research society (ERS) which was the first body in the world to study on ergonomics. ERS then evolved to the ergonomics society (ES) and then to the current Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF) (Omerley, 2103). Office ergonomics is part of this generalized evolution of ergonomics with it being a recognized discipline among the domains of ergonomics. Office ergonomics deals mainly in the office setting or environment and helps in averting injuries and adapting the work to the person rather than the person to the work.
Development of office ergonomics
Office ergonomics was developed in a bid to better the already good working environment (Lauren, 2006). This helps individuals operating machines give their best job results as well as maximizing production. As production is increased, risks of injury are greatly reduced due to the precautions taken and design of the machines. The only time workers using office ergonomics can succumb to injuries is when they are required to perform and adapt to work patterns that exceed the limitations of their bodies (Omerley, 2103). This often results to injuries that can make an individual miss work for long periods or even incapacitate them. Injury to workers is expensive to organizations. This comes in the form of hefty hospital bills paid by the organization and the time wasted in attending to the injured worker is lost instead of being used for productive purposes (Omerley, 2103).
Problems in the office can result from the following risk factors: repetition, long periods of exertions, awkward postures while working and exposure to high temperatures (Heyman, 2012). The resulting health problems include:
Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders
It is a condition which affects the muscles in the body, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, ligaments and the joints on the neck and upper limbs. Symptoms include pain, discomfort, swelling, stiffness, numbness and tingling (Heyman, 2012). This disorder is mostly related to the way an individual operates in the office setting. This is in terms of the sitting...