Ergonomics is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products, and systems so that they fit the people who use them.
Most people have heard of ergonomics and think it is something to do with seating or with the design of car controls and instruments – and it is… but it is so much more. Ergonomics applies to the design of anything that involves people – workspaces, sports and leisure, health and safety. Some tools are advertised as “ergonomic” or designed with ergonomic features. A tool becomes “ergonomic” only when it fits the task you are performing, and it fits your hand without causing awkward postures, harmful contact pressures, or other safety and health risks.
If you use a tool that does not fit your hand—or use the tool in a way it was not intended—you might develop an injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, or muscle strain.
These injuries do not happen because of a single event, such as a fall. Instead, they result from repetitive movements that are performed over time or for a long period.
Unsafe practices may result in damage to muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, joints, cartilage, spinal discs, or blood vessels. Below are some ergonomic issues to consider when using hand and power tools.
When working with hand tools, it is good practice to maintain a neutral (handshake) wrist position. Remember, bend the tool, not the wrist.
Flexion and Extension
Design tasks and select tools to reduce extreme flexion or deviation of the wrist.
The hand grip that provides maximum hand power for high force tasks. All the fingers wrap around the handle.
Pressure from a hard surface, point, or edge on any part of the body.
The hand grip that provides control for precision and accuracy. The tool is gripped between the thumb and the fingertips.