The Ergonomics Society of South Africa
The Ergonomics Society of South Africa (ESSA) is a federated member of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA). As a society, ESSA, aims to promote an awareness of ergonomics in South Africa and both the health and safety and productivity benefits that can be derived from the implementation of sound ergonomics principles.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the science of work. Derived from the Greek words ergon (work) and nomos (laws).
The official International Ergonomics Association (IEA) definition of ergonomics is as follows: "Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.
Ergonomists contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people". Taken from http://iea.cc/
Ergonomics has a number of domains of specialisation. These include the following broad areas: physical, cognitive and organisational ergonomics. Practicing Ergonomists are likely to come from a number of diverse areas, but all will be concerned with the assessment of people in their working environments. Ergonomics in Industrially Developing Countries (IDCs) is a major focus for ESSA as we work at growing the discipline in Africa.
What is the role of ESSA?
The role of the ergonomics society of South Africa can be sub-divided into four core areas which are outlined below:
It is the responsibility of ESSA and its Professional Affairs Board (PAB) to facilitate the certification of ergonomics in South Africa. ESSA is a federated society of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) who provides criteria for the certification of ergonomists at an appropriate level of both education and experience. We are currently in the process of getting the certification process approved be the IEA are are hopefull that this will be complete by the end of 2011.
Awareness and Understanding:
Since ergonomics globally, and particularly in South Africa, is a relatively new profession, there is both a lack of understanding of and awareness of ergonomics within the South African framework. As the bastions of Ergonomics in South Africa it is the role of ESSA to promote not only an understanding of ergonomics but also to promote an awareness of the discipline and the benefits that can be derived from the successful implementation of ergonomics principles in the workplace.
ESSA should serve as a resource point for all of its members and those interested in ergonomics. There should be a large array of resources available that are up to date and provide members with information on pertinent ergonomics issues. These resources should include:
- Examples of good practice as evident in South African industries
- Ergonomics guidelines for specific industries (e.g. office ergonomics guidelines, construction industry, etc)
These guidelines should be developed with the assistance of relevant stakeholders in the various industries.
Due to the multi-factorial nature of ergonomics it is imperative for ESSA to develop strategic partnerships with other organizations involved in the workplace.