The purpose of this chapter is to give an overview of human factors and ergonomics (HFE) and to show how these two sciences developed-ergonomics in Europe and HFE in the U.S.
The word ergonomics is derived from the Greek words ergo (work) and nomos (laws). It was used for the first time by Wojciech Jastrzebowski in a Polish newspaper in 1857 (Karwowski, 1991). In the U.S., human factors engineering and human factors have been close synonyms. European ergonomics has its roots in work physiology, biomechanics, and workstation design. Human factors, on the other hand, originated from research in experimental psychology, where the focus was on human performance and systems design (Chapanis, 1971).