In Israel, most people are not really familiar with the term “ergonomics”. Many even tend to confuse “ergonomia” (that’s how we call ergonomics in Hebrew) with “agronomia” (agronomy – i.e. the science of agriculture).
As an ergonomic advisor, I am frequently at a loss when I have to present ergonomics during face to face meetings or when planning for an advertisement. What would be the best way? Should I explain that ergonomics is “human engineering”, should I talk about the human-machine interface, or about the creation and maintenance of a healthy work environment or should I perhaps explain that it is the study of how pain is caused by faulty work habits?
Almost anyone spending their working hours in front of a computer suffers at some point or another from discomfort and pain. Therefore, believing it would be a fantastic ad, an excellent marketing writing piece that will certainly send clients rushing straight to their phone to get in touch with me, I recently posted an email advertisement titled “Ergonomics – computer pains”.
Well, I did get a lot of calls…. but most of the callers contacted me because their computer was faulty, and not as a result of the pains they themselves were suffering…
This short episode is a very good example of the current state of affairs in Israel – the computer is more important than the human body. Computer users have yet to grasp the causal connection existing between a non-ergonomic working environment and physical pain or incapacitation.
As an ergonomics advisor living and working in Israel, I hear about colleagues abroad and understand their situation seems to be much better. In other countries, I’m told, people know what the term ergonomics means and large companies and organizations show more awareness to ergonomics in general.
I do not know whether those stories are true or exaggerated, but I would welcome inputs from others around the world.
So do tell me, how are things at your end of the pond?