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Workplace design and evaluation

Chapter in book
Authors Roland Kadefors
Published in Occupational Safety and Health for Development (Elgstrand, K., Petersson, N.F., eds.)
Pages 151-168
ISBN 978-91-633-4798-6
Publisher Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Industrial Ecology
Place of publication Stockholm
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Work Science
Pages 151-168
Language en
Keywords Ergonomics
Subject categories Work sciences and ergonomics


This chapter examines the design of the immediate environment in which a person works, i.e. a workstation, defined as the “combination and spatial arrangement of work equipment, surrounded by the work environment” (International Standard, ISO /DIS 6385). According to the same source, “work equipment” is defined as “tools, including hard- and software, machines, vehicles, devices, furniture, installations and other components used in the work system”. These definitions underline the fact that workplace design needs to take all the relevant factors into account in order to ensure that workers’ health is adequately protected. This chapter on workplace design principally addresses “manual work”, focusing on design that aims to avoid physical strain and exposures that cause pain and discomfort in the musculoskeletal system. However, in practical design situations there will always be specific factors that have to be taken into account. For instance, in the design of a manual assembly system, it is essential to consider not only the physical layout of the workstations along the production line, but also the organisation of the work system. The distribution of work tasks between successive workstations in such a system defines important ergonomic characteristics such as cycle length, repetitive tasks, autonomy, and the arrangement of work and rest time.

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