In August 2000, the International Ergonomics Association Council adopted an official definition of the discipline of ergonomics as follows:
“Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance”
Ergonomists contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people.
Derived from the Greek ergon (work) and nomos (laws) to denote the science of work, ergonomics is a systems-oriented discipline which now extends across all aspects of human activity. Practicing ergonomists must have a broad understanding of the full scope of the discipline. That is, ergonomics promotes a holistic approach in which considerations of physical, cognitive, social, organizational, environmental and other relevant factors are taken into account. Ergonomists often work in particular economic sectors or application domains. Application domains are not mutually exclusive and they evolve constantly; new ones are created and old ones take on new perspectives.