Tuesday, 20 September 2011


According to Caulton and Dickson (2007), an understanding of ergonomics underpins the ability to “constantly make slight invisible adjustments to an activity to adapt to the needs of those taking part and ensure that it continues to work for its intended purpose” (p. 93).  In simpler terms ergonomics looks at how people within their environments 'fit'  with activities in different ways.

An example of ergonomics from literature is an interview with Martin Fisher, a violin maker.  He describes where he sources the wood from: "the wood all comes from West Germany.  This is another big problem because the industrial pollution in Europe is a factor in sourcing wood" (Fisher & Yeats, 1995, p. 28).  This violin maker needs to adjust the way he operates within his activity depending on the wood he can source, its density and quality.

When I think about it, ergonomics plays a large part in the way I cook. I am more creative in my cooking and more adventurous when I have the time and money to spend researching recipes or finding ingredients at the supermarket.  What I cook will often depend on what is in the supermarket..and what is reasonably priced..I bought grapes for the first time this year last week.  

If the kitchen bench is covered in items that shouldn’t be there, I first have to clear it before I can get started.  The way I cook will change dependent on whether I have time on my own or whether I have just got home and am rushing to get food on the table – if I have time to myself I will spend the time to chop the vegetables evenly..if I am in a rush I pull something out the freezer. 

The intended purpose is always to feed myself and my family, however the way I carry out the activity of cooking seems largely dependent on the physical and human environment around me...ergonomics.


Caulton, R. & Dickson, R.  (2007).  What’s going on? Finding an explanation for what we do.  In J. Creek & A. Lawson-Porter (Eds.), Contemporary issues in occupational therapy (pp. 87-114).  Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Fisher, M. & Yeats, M. (1995).  Interview with Martin Fisher - Violin maker.  Occupation, 6(2), 24-34.


  1. I really like the way you have linked ergonomics into cooking and i can understand the idea of ergonomics more after reading your post. Do you think that the layout of your kitchen and where your appliances are has an affect on your cooking too?

  2. Thanks for commenting Meagan :) Definately! I have been in my current house over 3 years now and the layout of my kitchen as evolved over that time. The appliances I use most often are now within the easiest reach and by organising my kitchen in this way I am now able to cook much more efficiently. It seems also that where appliances are positioned also reflects how often I think to use them..for example if the bread maker is at the front of the cupboard I go through phases of making lots of bread..however if it gets pushed to the back we can go months only eating shop-bought bread.

  3. Hi Anna,

    Reading your post on ergonomics and how it impacts your cooking in a creative or adventurous way is very interseting and a great way to look at how your activity is adapted due to your time and money limitations as I too can relate to this concept, so I have learnt how ergonomics has a role cooking.
    An improvement could possibly be using an example of cooking rather than violin to show ergonomics keeping to the theme of your posting. :-) (can you tell I am struggling to find an improvement) haha! Good work Anna

  4. Hi Sarah

    Thanks for the comment.. I agree it would definately be better to have a cooking related quote..I just can't find one!!!