Ergonomics, Environment and Sustainability
Authors: Alejandro Rodea, Lucila Mercado
Abstract: The concept of environment is one with different scopes, accordingly to the theme in question. Seeing it from macro or global aspects, the main concerns addressed include pollution of air, water and land and ecosystem destruction, for its part at the micro or individual level, the areas of work and movement, proxemics or accessibility to spaces are points of interest more frequently addressed. This diversity of approaches and interests is due in part to the multiplicity of disciplines from which it is addressed the complex environmental concept, as each discipline given its specificity, manages technical terms and theories that are not always shared by other disciplines, affecting interrelationship of its objectives and methods when analyzing as more complex systems. Thereby, as an example, in ergonomic systems users are analyzed when performing specific activities with objects and spaces well defined. These spaces are the environment in which these users perform its activities, and are very important for them because they confer -or not- the conditions for an optimal ergonomic relationship. However, to adapt the environmental conditions for a User on a particular task have effects in broader systemic levels of analysis, usually in contrast of the ideal conditions needed by other users or (micro)ergonomic systems. Thus , to perform a given activity may require certain temperature, ventilation and lighting, while another may require different conditions for their achievement. This divergence of environmental conditions at micro level approach, have different intensities at either the environment within an organization and globally. When an ergonomic system is designed, the intention of achieving adequate levels of effectiveness, efficiency, health, comfort and satisfaction –just to mention few basic objectives of the ergonomics discipline, the object’s variables, and those of the activity and the environment are manipulated in the search of a synergistic balance that drives through such ergonomic objectives, but several questions arises about what are the environmental impacts of these decisions into higher systemic levels. Based on macroergonomics concepts can be developed analysis strategies to determine actions to be taken in adapting the ergonomic system, not only pursuing its objectives per se, but in order to consider the best design practices in relation to the effects caused to the environment with this intervention, converging into a more sustainable development vision.
Keywords: Environmental, Surrounding Design, Macroergonomics Approach, Complex Systems.
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