Human factors in occupational medicine

L D Budnick
Journal of Occupational Medicine.: Official Publication of the Industrial Medical Association 1993, 35 (6): 587-97
Physicians should be knowledgeable of human factors (ergonomics) to address the workplace needs of their patients. Human factors is the discovery and application of principles concerning human capacities and capabilities to the design, evaluation, operation, and maintenance of the work system for the safe, effective, and satisfying use by people. Human factors encompasses a wide range of subjects that relate to the mutual interaction between the worker and the work system, which includes the following: the organization, the environment, and the workplace; the job and the tasks the worker performs; and the equipment and the tools used. The majority of work-related injuries and loss incidents have some contributory cause related to the interaction between the worker and the work system. The goal of human factors activities is to assess abnormal or excessive human stressors and minimize or eliminate the stress to improve performance and reliability and minimize error. Human factors is becoming an integral part of occupational medicine because it is increasingly important in the workplace. This overview of human factors emphasizes the current knowledge of prevention and intervention measures to enhance the functional quality of the workplace.

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