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Ask CNN: What is Ergonomics?

Aired August 20, 2001 - 07:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Mabel Foster from Tallahassee, Florida asks, "What is ergonomics?"

DR. DAVID REMPEL, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA ERGONOMICS PROGRAM: Ergonomics is the study of the home environment and work environment to try to identify factors in both that cause musculoskeletal problems and fatigue and reduce those factors in order to reduce the risks for musculoskeletal problems and also to improve performance.

An example would be to design hand tools or lift trucks to help reduce the loads of lifting and reduce the force required for cutting. Other examples would be to design new kinds of hand tools for computer users like keyboards and mice to reduce the risk factors for computer use.

Ways of preventing these problems are to first of all have a training program for employees at work, to expose them to the risks so that they report their musculoskeletal problems early, to identify high risk jobs at work so they can be modified and reengineered to reduce the risk factors.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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