Careers in Ergonomics
For many safety professionals a career in ergonomics begins with the desire to help people avoid workplace related injuries and fatigue. While this is definitely a major part of what ergonomists do, there is a lot more to it. Often called occupational health and safety specialists, ergonomic professionals focus on the interaction between humans, their tools, and the environment to create safer, more effective, comfortable, and productive designs.
Ergonomics is the applied science of equipment and environment design for the workplace, with the intended result of maximizing productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. It is also called biotechnology, human engineering and human factors engineering. Many employment opportunities in ergonomics are spread throughout the private sector as well as government agencies.
An example of ergonomics in the world of safety and security would be a human factors engineer studying the tools and equipment a firefighter uses to create lighter and easier to use gear. This would allow the firefighter to carry less weight and respond faster in emergency situations. This same concept can be applied to law enforcement, the military, construction workers, and almost every job that requires the use of specialized tools and equipment.
Ergonomics plays an important role, even in less physically demanding professions. Ergonomics professionals can help to create safer more productive workplaces. Simple changes like reducing the risk of carpel tunnel syndrome with a keyboard wrist rest, ordering posture correct chairs or glare resistant screens can make a big difference. The applications for ergonomics can also be technological. Helping to create more user-friendly processes, software, and safety procedures all contribute to a safer healthier workplace.
Career Opportunities within the field of Ergonomics:
- Mining, Quarrying, Oil and Gas Extraction
- Scientific Services
- Fire and Safety
- Emergency Response