What is ergonomics?

Find out about this amazing subject and how it impacts us all!

A science, a discipline and a profession

Ergonomics and human factors is all of these and it encompasses a range of other professions such as psychology, design and engineering. There's lots of ways to explain and describe it!


A definition

"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." - The International Ergonomics Association

A difference?

We take ergonomics and human factors to mean the same thing. One of the two terms may be used more in certain contexts or sectors. For example, 'ergonomics' tends to be used more in regard to offices and 'human factors' in the healthcare, defence and energy sectors.


A video explainer

Watch our short one minute illustration of just some of the things that ergonomics incorporates. It's not meant to be exhaustive but provides a few areas where ergonomics can have a positive impact at home, work and in life more generally.


Keen to learn more?

Just as ergonomics can be applied in so many ways, there are lots of different ways you can learn more about it. Take a look at these resources as a start.


What does ergonomics include?

What does ergonomics include?

Ergonomics and human factors includes numerous different physical, psychological, behavioural and environmental aspects that need to be understood in order to apply principles in an effective way. We listed them in a set of knowledge areas together with a bit of explanation.

See the areas

How is ergonomics applied?

How is ergonomics applied?

We publish a magazine called The Ergonomist which is full of articles, news and information about all aspects of ergonomics. It's written by our members so you can find out more about what they do, how they apply ergonomics and the impact that it makes on all aspects of life.

See the magazine

What do ergonomists do?

What do ergonomists do?

Ergonomists work across all sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, energy, defence and transport and in all types of workplace. They do a myriad of different things, from assessments to design and from research to investigation. We've interviewed members to find out their career stories.

Listen to the stories

What impact does ergonomics make?

What impact does ergonomics make?

We collate stories that illustrate how ergonomics and human factors makes a difference, where the research is taking place and where there's potential for further impact. Sign up to receive stories by email each month.

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How does ergonomics apply to everyday life?

How does ergonomics apply to everyday life?

Watch a series of four short videos that illustrate real-life examples. They show how ergonomics makes an impact on the things we all do everyday and how it can make life and work better, safer and more productive.

Let's Discover!



Sound interesting?

Please take a look around this site where you'll find degree and training courses that you could consider, publications that you could read and much more. Consider joining us and becoming part of the community and you'll soon be connected to members who can help answer questions, become a mentor and potentially a future employer!