The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

SLMA to study Ergonomics issues, sets up committee


The Sri Lankan Medical Association (SLMA) is taking a significant role in an area that has received little recognition and public concern – Ergonomics. In a statement announcing the formation of an expert group on Ergonomics and inviting professionals to join, the SLMA said this subject is an evolving specialty all over the world and is the scientific study of the people and their work.

“Ergonomics helps in improving human performance and finds solutions to health and safety problems. With the advancement of technology and growing evidence, ergonomics has penetrated dramatically in to the healthcare field eg. Doctor-patient interfaces, healthcare equipments, service delivery environments, occupational safety and health (OSH), child ergonomics, school health, etc, it said.

It said proposed members of this Expert Committee would include public health specialists, paediatricians, neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons, healthcare administrators and non-medical professionals (ergonomists, engineers, etc). Business analysts told the Business Times that one of the most neglected issues in the workplace or at home is the proper seating posture when working and also that tables are sometimes too high and not consistent with the average height of a Sri Lankan. “Furniture is based on the traditional British model/specifications where people are taller than Sri Lankans,” one analyst said.

The SLMA said mismatched ergonomics result in a  multitude of negative health consequences and may have implications on economic development of a country. Preventive strategies have been initiated in many developed countries both at micro and macro levels. There are several fragmented approaches launched in Sri Lanka focused on ergonomics like OSH, ergonomics for children, healthy schoolbag campaign and healthcare facility ergonomics.

The objective of the committee is to function as an umbrella body in promoting ergonomics; map and collate evidence in ergonomics and health consequences; advocate healthcare and other stakeholders in relevant sectors on issues related to ergonomics; and initiate and sustain activities both at national and sub-national level to expand ergonomics in health and relevant fields, among other matters.

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