Fitting work to people
Majority of the manual work is now being done by machines. This increase in mechanisation and automation means that the pace of work has increased and that individual work assignments have become more diversified and at times uninteresting. On the other hand, there are still many jobs that must be done manually, with heavy physical stress.
– human engineering is a way of thinking and planning work so that it is organised to suit the abilities and needs of the people doing it.
Machinery and working routines are changing, people are not. This means that technology is increasingly exceeding people’s ability to adapt, both physically and mentally, to change. This has various negative consequences. Technological progress has meant that manual work has been replaced by machines and computers. Heavy manual work still occurs, but many modern jobs require the repetition of simple operations or just the monitoring of a production process.
Almost majority of the most common illnesses result from inappropriate people-work relationships. If our bone and muscle structure is overloaded this can result, for example, in back injuries or joint and muscle disorders. Many illnesses such as stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and heart disease are the result of stress at work.
People are of different heights, they are built differently, some people are stronger than others. Their ability to withstand physical or mental stress varies. These basic facts cannot be changed. We must use these facts as a basis for planning jobs and for planning the working conditions.
Despite progress in technology there is still a lot to be done before machinery and equipment are properly designed for use by people. As a result of poor design, for example, people often suffer from lower back pain and injury to muscles and joints. Visual problems are increasing with the wide spread use of various display units and inspection work. These are among the most common health problems in working life today.