Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What is ergonomics?

According to Caulton and Dickson (2007) ergonomics is to, “constantly make slight invisible adjustments to an activity to adapt to the needs of those taking part and ensure that it continues to work for its intended purpose” ( p.93)

In simple words, this means that when you engage in your chosen activity, you make sure that everything is going according to how you planned in order to acquire your intended outcome. For example, you have to be in the right mood, right environment, have the right equipment if needed. It is necessary to have everything in harmony to feel motivated enough to perform that activity. That is my understanding of ergonomics.

I have noticed that majority of the time I get up and do the cooking is when everything is just right. Engaging in this activity can be ergonomically viewed from three perspectives; person, environment and occupation.

As I mentioned in my previous post there are things that help or hinder my engagement in this activity. They can all be grouped according to person, environment and occupation. For example, what helps me cook mindfully include being in a good mood (person), clean and safe kitchen (environment), and cooking for others (occupation). The same can be applied to the things that hinder me from cooking. I feel that having an activity be ergonomically fit provides me with the motivation I need to engage in it, this can be said for all other types of activities.

Being aware of this process has helped me a lot; before I would give up when something was wrong i.e. mood, timing or environment. However being aware the principles of ergonomics, I know I can acquire the desired outcome simply by fixing or adapting to the current circumstances.


Caulton, R. & Dickson, R.  (2007). What’s going on? Finding an explanation for what we do.  In J. Creek & A. Lawson-Porter (Eds.), Contemporary issues in occupational therapy (pp. 87-114).  Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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