The basic premise of ergonomics is that it deals with the human-system interface. As with other design-related disciplines, ergonomics includes specification, guidelines, methods, and tools. And Ergonomists use these for several functions including improving quality of life (which encompasses health, safety, comfort and usability) and productivity.

As a science ergonomics is primarily concerned with the study of human capabilities and limitations and other characteristics for the express purpose of developing human-system interface technology. As a practice, ergonomists are going to apply the human-system interface technology that has been developed to a variety of work-place related tasks. 

The goal therefore of ergonomics is to optimise the user-interface, the work organisation and the work environment to achieve optimum human-machine integration.

According to the Interantional Ergonomics Association (IEA) ergonomics is derived from the Greek ergon (work) and nomos (laws) to denote the science of work. Consequently ergonomics can be considered as a a systems-oriented discipline extending across all aspects of human activity. A key factor in ergonomics is that it promotes a holistic approach whereby the physical, cognitive, social, organizational, environmental and other relevant domains are taken into account.

Ergonomics is a growing specilization in the South African context as industry increasingly becomes aware of the benefits that can be derived from the implementation of sound ergonomics principles. As such it is an exciting time to be involved in ergonomics as we strive to improving not only working conditions in our country but also to productivity.

Get more information about Ergonomics at

the Ergonomics Society of South Africa or

the International Ergonomics Association.

The Professional Affairs Board and Certification as an Ergonomist.

The following documentation has been released in 2015. All individuals wishing to practice as Ergonomists will be required to be certified, effective immediately. Please contact the Ergonomics Society of South Africa for further information.

ESSA Professional Affairs Board


Last Modified: Mon, 12 Dec 2022 11:24:16 SAST