Ergonomics in UK Local Authority Leisure Facilities Term Paper

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The Ergonomic Needs of People in UK Local Authority Run Leisure Facilities

The objective of this work is to research the methods in which the ergonomic needs of people within the community they serve and the employees of the leisure centre run by a UK Local Authority. Considered are assured in terms of building design, equipment, selection and training of staff and ensuring the dignity of all individuals and emergency arrangements. Introduced will be concepts of design, new technology and systems of management adopted for leisure centres.

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In the UK it is expected that cultural services take into consideration the diversity that exist and this is true of the physical characteristics of individuals. Older and disabled individuals should have the same access to leisure service facilities, as do other individuals making it a requirement that the design of the leisure facility is user-friendly for all types of individuals of all ages, of both genders and including the disabilities that exist. Stated in the work of Coleman (2006) entitled: From Margins to Mainstream: Why Inclusive Design is Better Design" is the fact that there has been a "...gradual shift from the idea of design and special needs and specific groups to design for inclusion or inclusive design. It is in light of that shift that I believe we have to recognize that inclusive design is not a new design genre, but in essence, simply better design that is more aware of the diversity of people who interact with the designed and manufactured world, and more aware of the way our needs and capabilities change across the course of a lifetime, even throughout the day. Inclusion is an important extension of the idea of usability, in that usability studies have tended to focus on key user groups and specialized equipments such as aircraft cockpits, ambulances, control centres and individual workstations." (Coleman, 2006) Coleman further relates that in order to design for today's individuals it requires a "better understanding of a wider range of users and making rational decisions about specific elements of design." (Coleman, 2006)

Term Paper on Ergonomics in UK Local Authority Leisure Facilities Assignment

I. BS7000-6 Guide to Managing Inclusive Design (2005)

BS7000-G Guide to managing inclusive design provides a "practical, state-of -the-art guidance on managing inclusive design at the organizational and project levels." (Coleman, 2006) it is not mandatory for organizations to abide by this guide however, the organizations that adopt the standard: "...can determine how their practices and their consumer offers are deficient. " (Coleman, 2006) This standard defines clearly inclusive design and "sets out a comprehensive framework for introducing a professional approach to inclusive design into organizations." (Coleman, 2006) Coleman states that it is important to understand both the,," systems level issues and the user level issues." (2006) Coleman predicts that the future will be comprised of: "...exciting and interesting times ahead for those ergonomists and designers who are prepared to work together on these big and challenges social issues." (2006)

II. Employees - Training and Knowledge Concerning Ergonomics

In a recent report it is reported that in Britain the most common form of work-related illness is that of muscolo-skeletal disorders. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is stated to be a problem that is "growing and greatly underestimated." (Rennie, 2006) it is important that the individual consider how they are "sitting, standing, holding the mouse" (Rennie, 2006) Because habitual manners of sitting might feel comfortable when it is actually causing harm. Therefore it is important for businesses to address these habits and this can only be accomplished through education and training of employees. (Rennie, 2006) the Mid Devon District Council Annual Report on Health and Safety; 1 April 2005-30 April 2006 states that the report summarizes the Council's Health, Safety and Welfare Policy. The Council report identifies the key health and safety risk to employees and service users may be identified through the measures of health and safety performance set out by the Council which include: (1) total incidents reported; (2) incidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive; (3) Causes of working days lost; (4) Occupational Health referral; and (5) Employer's liability Claims." (Mid Devon District Council Annual Report on Health and Safety, 2006) the causes for employees losing time at work was due to: (1) slips/trips; and (2) musculo-skeletal problems, due to manual handling and working with DSE. (Mid Devon District Council Annual Report on Health and Safety, 2006) the causes for injuries to service users were stated to be: (1) slips and trips; (2) falls; and (3) sporting injuries to clients from the leisure centres. (Mid Devon District Council Annual Report on Health and Safety, 2006) the employees underwent special training and discovered knowledge that muscolo-skeletal problems are associated with the use of visual display units. This problem is addressed through bringing in trained assessors to make assessments and implement improvements to the workstations where improvements are needed. The Council has addressed the problem of slips and trips through departmental risk assessment from which are derived measures for minimization of these risks.

III. Leisure Facility Facts

According to the 'Employees Forum Update" of September 2002 for Manchester

Many leisure attractions are excluding disabled children and their carers because of poor provision." (Employees Forum Update: September 2002) it is reported that in a survey of 1,000 parents of disabled children, 73% said they do not visit attractions because of long queues, while 68% of parents do not go on leisure trips because they, and their children, have in the past been made to feel uncomfortable." (Employees Forum Update: September 2002)

IV. Facility Design

According to one report ergonomics is "the science of determining the right fit between people and their environments, at work, at home, at leisure." The work of Grandjean (1980) states that ergonomics is a study of man's behavior in relation to his work." Additionally stated by Grandjean is that: "the most important principle of ergonomics: Fitting the task to the man. Ergonomics is interdisciplinarian: it bases its theories on physiology, psychology, anthropometry, and various aspects of engineering." (p. ix) Grandjean relates that traditionally ergonomics served "mainly to increase efficiency, and thereby productivity. This is no longer the prime goal... The following objectives more closely define the benefits to be gained by ergonomic research: 1) Fitting the demands of work to the efficiency of man in order to reduce stress. 2) Designing machines, equipment, and installations so that they can be operated with great efficiency, accurately, and safely. 3) Working out proportions and conditions of the work place to ensure correct body posture. 4) Adapting lighting, air conditioning, noise, etc., to suit man's physical requirements." (p. ix) the work of Gary David states that the "human sciences of psychology, anatomy and physiology provide information about the abilities and limitations of people, and the wide differences that exist between individuals. People vary in many ways: body size and shape, strength, mobility, sensory acuity, cognition, experience, training, culture, emotions, etc. Ergonomists are trained in analytical techniques which enable the full extent of these user characteristics and individual differences to be considered when influencing the design process." (Ibid) David relates the fact that designers are specifically trained to apply consideration to the various and diverse individuals who will use products, systems and environments, which are designed. There are also additional factors for consideration and David states: "All too often, commercial or time pressures mean that ergonomics principles are compromised or not given adequate priority until too late in the design process." (nd)

David relates the fact that in today's crowded markets, which are also very competitive markets, raised consumer expectations and new legislation have led to a more rigorous application of ergonomics. Fundamental themes of ergonomics, such as 'user-centered design', 'user-friendly', 'inclusive design' and 'usability' have become buzz-words within the design industry. Far from being a constraint on creativity, ergonomics methods can be applied at the earliest stages of the design process, defining user needs and identifying opportunities for innovation. Some design consultancies employ qualified ergonomists and many other design groups work closely with specialist ergonomics consultancies. Large manufacturers, such as Ford, Philips and Nokia employ ergonomists to work alongside their in-house design teams. Most design projects involve multidisciplinary teams, including designers, engineers, market researchers, brand managers and, increasingly, ergonomists. " (David, nd)

V. Ergonomics: Three Broad Headings

David states that there are three broad headings under which ergonomics may fall which are those as follows:

Physical ergonomics: Concerned with human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity. The relevant topics include controls and displays, working postures, manual handling, repetitive movements, work-related musculoskeletal disorders, workplace layout, safety and health, lighting, and the thermal and acoustic environment.

Psychological ergonomics: Concerned with mental processes, such as perception, cognition, memory, reasoning and emotion, as they affect interactions amongst… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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