ISO 6385:2016 establishes the fundamental principles of ergonomics as basic guidelines for the design of work systems and defines relevant basic terms. It describes an integrated approach to the design of work systems, where ergonomists will cooperate with others involved in the design, with attention to the human, the social and the technical requirements in a balanced manner during the design process.
Users of this International Standard will include executives, managers, workers (and their representatives, when appropriate) and professionals, such as ergonomists, project managers and designers who are involved in the design or redesign of work systems. Those who use this International Standard can find a general knowledge of ergonomics (human factors), engineering, design, quality and project management helpful.
The term "work system" in this International Standard is used to indicate a large variety of working situations, including permanent and flexible work places. The intention of this International Standard is to assist in the improvement, (re)design or change of work systems. Work systems involve combinations of workers and equipment, within a given space and environment, and the interactions between these components within a work organization. Work systems vary in complexity and characteristics, for example, the use of temporary work systems. Some examples of work systems in different areas are the following:
- production, e.g. machine operator and machine, worker and assembly line;
- transportation, e.g. driver and car or lorry, personnel in an airport;
- support, e.g. maintenance technician with work equipment;
- commercial, e.g. office worker with workstation, mobile worker with a tablet computer, cook in a restaurant kitchen;
- other areas like health care, teaching and training.
The observance of ergonomic principles applies to all phases throughout the life cycle of the work system from conception through development, realization and implementation, utilization, maintenance and support to decommissioning.
The systems approach in this International Standard gives guidance to the users of this International Standard in existing and new situations.
The definitions and ergonomic principles specified in this International Standard apply to the design of optimal working conditions with regard to human well-being, safety and health, including the development of existing skills and the acquisition of new ones, while taking into account technological and economic effectiveness and efficiency.
The principles in this International Standard are applicable to many other human activities, e.g. in the design of products for domestic and leisure activities. A more general description of the principles in this International Standard can be found in ISO 26800.