Ergonomic Occupational Helath and Safety

The importance of this study is based on the premise that the welfare of employees working in industries that are non-hazardous is habitually overlooked.

Health and safety issues are not obvious and so problems are not addressed. This study serves to draw attention to ergonomic hazards, their effects and measures than can be taken to control and minimize them. Furthermore, in an economic climate where minimizing costs and competitiveness is crucial, ergonomics plays an important role.

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The study intends to highlight tat good ergonomic is good business. Workers in an environment that holistically caters for their health and safety, minimizes their illnesses and injuries, elevates their motivation and maximizes productivity.Ergonomic controls are used in aiding with fitting the workplace to the worker. They aim to place the body in a neutral position and reduce the other ergonomic risk factors. Engineering controls are the most preferred method for controlling ergonomic risk factors because they are more permanent and effective.They involve modification, redesigning or replacement of workstations, materials/bob]sects/ containers design and handling, hand tools used and equipment (WELSH, S. C, 2002). Administrative controls deal with how work is structured.

These include proper maintenance and housekeeping, Job rotation and enlargement, work scheduling, provision of sufficient breaks, work practice and training. The final ergonomic control category is that of personal protective equipment use (BRIGGS, Caroline, 2003). Work practice focuses on the way work is performed.Work practice controls are unconcerned with modifying work procedures and practices to ensure that neutral working position and safe work procedures are used, a gradual introduction to work for new and re-introduction for returning employees and ensuring a worker controlled pace and organization to decrease fatigue and exposure to risk factors. Job rotation and enlargement involves rotating workers through different Jobs or expanding work to rest the different muscle groups of the body, minimize repetition, and reduce mental demands.Instruction in safe working postures and methods is essential, along with monitoring to make sure that modified work practices are being seed. Proper lifting or carrying is not necessarily the most effective way to control ergonomic hazards but it does minimize injuries to some degree (BRIGGS, Caroline, 2003).

Musculoskeletal disorders (Moms) are injuries and disorders of the workplace may have either contributed to the disorder’s development, or exacerbate a pre-existing condition (DRESSER, Martha and Hamburger, Steven Van, 2002).Moms are related to various workplace risk factors which include repetitive, forceful or prolonged exertions, frequent or heavy lifting, pushing or pulling, or carrying of objects, fixed or awkward work postures, contact stress, local or whole-body vibration, cold temperatures and work organization. The less apparent types of ergonomic hazards, but no less damaging, are cumulative trauma disorders resulting from repetitive motions. Examples have been publicized from the food industry, in which employees developed carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive processing work performed on poultry moving on overhead conveyors in an assembly line.Numerous others can be cited.

Steps taken to avoid such cumulative injuries can provide significant long-term benefits (TOLSTOY, Vladimir, 2004). Ergonomics hazards concerns create an immense impact in promoting awareness in industries where the risks are taken for granted. The situation at the present time is that firms are often guilty of not being aware of repetitiveness movement. Awkward and static postures induce fatigue, numbness, illness and consequently more serious injuries like back pain, faints and slipped disks.This will lead to trends of absenteeism, medical leave, early retirement and the situation will become worse if the workers make demands for compensation. (SOLELY, Patrick, 2009) A several studies have been conducted highlighting the ergonomic hazards and their causes in various industries.

(SNOOD, J. T. And Campbell, A. , 1978) analyzed questionnaire returns from insurance agents who provided data on the latest compensable occupational back injury case in their workload.A total of 191 cases were described; the data included information as to onset of back pain, previous back injuries, act at time of injury along with selection and training procedures the employer was using to reduce the risk of back injury.

Lifting/pushing tasks when implicated in the injury were rated in terms of percentage of population who could safely perform the same act without overexertion, and were the tasks used to supply bob design or ergonomic reference data in the evaluation. (LAKE, T. M, 1999) conducted a study showing disproportionate cost and frequency of an aerospace company’s back injury problems.The study was concerned with measuring the awareness of employees to the health problems caused by back injuries and establishing ways of reducing the incidence of injuries. The study also assessed absenteeism records in order to establish the frequency of new cases associated with back problems. It was revealed that most of the reasons for the absenteeism were due to back problems which had a frequency of 67.

2. After the adoption of improved workplace practices and training in safety through a workshop, the incidence of back problem complaints declined by 76%. Absenteeism dropped from 63% to 19%.Another study dealt with six thousand, six hundred workers in a telecommunications apparent and had been sustained during plant operations. The study assessed how informed plant supervisors and engineers were about the underlying chronic trauma. Steps were then taken on how to best control the ergonomic hazards through better engineering and training. A group of 50 engineers and plant supervisors were given were given training on chronic trauma disorders etiology wrought lectures and lab demonstrations. Observations were also conducted in plant problem operations.

The results of the study then showed the chronic trauma disorder program coincided with the reduction in chronic trauma disorder rates. Before the intervention, reported cases were 2. 2 injuries for every 200 000 hours of work and 1001 were days of work lost due to chronic trauma disorders. After training and implementation of better workplace practices, the rate declined to 0. 53 cases per 200 00 hours of work and 129 lost working days.

This was attributed to improved tool design and workplace layout (MCKENZIE et al. , 2001) A study was conducted on the work processes in a large shipping company.Installing three telescopic conveyors improved safety in the shipping department of a personal computer distribution center. The conveyors substantially cut the risks of back injuries caused by lifting products that sometimes exceeded 100 lb each. At the same time, the new system also eliminated a loading bottleneck, and improved productivity by 50%. This increased shipping productivity was needed to support more business (GROOMER, K. H.

E and Grandee, E. , 1997). Another example comes from a manufacturer of plastic products for health care industries.Several times a day, teams of workers had to grapple with heavy (1 50 lb to 250 lb) and awkward web-film rolls in order to insert them into packaging machines.

The level of back injuries was drawing towards 30%, and the company had to change track quickly. The solution turned out to be a workstation crane system. A worker now moves an air-powered balancing hoist to a palliative roll, inserts a roll-lifting device into the roll core, and maneuvers the roll into the packaging machinery. This resulted in one worker doing a Job that previously required two people. The health problems related to this operation have been eradicated.The cost savings of these benefits are genuine and can be readily calculated (GROOMER, K. H. E and Grandee, E.

, 1997). These two studies serve as examples of successful ergonomic programs. CONTROLS: a means of limiting or regulating something (SIMPSON, John and Winner, Edmund, 2006) ERGONOMICS: the science of designing the Job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the Job (BRIGGS, Caroline, 2003). ERGONOMIC HAZARD: (a) conditions of a Job, process, or operation that contribute to the risk of developing back injuries, strains, sprains and repetitive strain Injuries.These are often caused by repetitive and forceful movements, vibration, temperature extremes, and awkward postures that arise from improper work methods and improperly designed workstations, tools, and equipment (BRIGGS, Caroline, 2003). WELLBEING: the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy (SIMPSON, John and Winner, Edmund, 2006) CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY 2. 1 INTRODUCTION This section is deals with the manner in which the study will be carried out in gathering data. 2.

2 RESEARCH PROBLEM There are a number of ergonomic hazards that exist in the building materials and reward supply businesses.Employees engage in manual handling of heavy material throughout the duration of their employment. This study investigates the prevalence of pain and injuries (musculoskeletal disorders) suffered by such employees. 2.

2. 1 Scope of the study particular study is focused in the occupational health and safety issues encountered in companies involved in building materials supply. More specifically, the study examines ergonomic hazards caused by a lack of administrative controls and workplace practice controls. The hazards associated with a lack of these controls are musculoskeletal disorders, I. .

Ace injuries and neck/shoulder pain. 2. 2. 2 Research questions I.

What type of work is done? I’. Who is affected? Iii. What ergonomic problems exist? ‘v. How prevalent are musculoskeletal disorders among the workforce? V. How can the problems be resolved? 2. 3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 2.

3. 1 Primary objective I. Identify tasks that with ergonomic hazards that impact negatively on employee health. 2. 3. 2 Secondary objectives ii. Show that employees who engage in heavy, manual tasks have a higher incidence of back and/or neck-shoulder pain.

Iii.Show that lack of Job rotation aggravates back and/neck-shoulder pain. 2. 4 HYPOTHESES Primary objective hypotheses I. HI.

Heavy manual activities are the principal cause of physical pain on the upper and mid extremities of the employees’ anatomy. HO. Heavy manual activities are not the principal cause of physical pain on the upper and mid extremities of the employees’ anatomy. Secondary objectives hypotheses it.

HI. Employees who engage in heavy, manual work have a higher incidence of back and / or neck-shoulder pain than those who perform lighter work.HO. Employees who engage in heavy, manual work do not have a higher incidence of back and / or neck-shoulder pain than those who perform lighter work. Ii. HI . Employees who perform the same heavy, repetitive work throughout the week have a higher incidence of back pain.

HO. Employees who perform the same heavy, repetitive work throughout the week do not have a higher incidence of back pain. 2. 5. 1 Research design A descriptive approach was adopted to obtain information on the incidence of pain and injuries caused by ergonomic hazards.A descriptive research approach was also chosen for its suitability in demonstrating relationships between variables .

A questionnaire and interviews were used as research tools. 2. 5. 2 Research population The research population comprises of all building materials and equipment supply businesses within the Franciscans area. Five businesses were identified having a similar profile and carrying out almost identical work on their premises.

2. 5. 3 Sampling design and data collection methods A sampling frame was drawn up listing all businesses involved in building material supply and hardware in the Franciscans industrial area.The study was concerned with investigating the effects of the ergonomic hazards on employees who carried out heavy, manual tasks. Primary data collection methods used were observation, interviews and a questionnaire. Direct observation of work performance will be used as a preliminary tool in data collection.

Observations and interviews are used to fill in the gaps in the study and answer questions that cannot be included in the questionnaire. 2. 5.

4 Sampling selection and size and hardware supply in Franciscans. All listed businesses had a similar profile and relatively similar workforce size.Next, a suitable employee sample had to be selected.

The intention was compare differences in ergonomic hazards and prevalence in similar workplace settings. Quota sampling was used to get a proportional number of employees from each company. The average number of employees was 45. Hence, 45 respondents from each site were used to gather data for the study.

All of them were given a questionnaire to complete. Instrument design Drafts of questions were made to fit the content of the study based on pre- determined information needs.A close-ended questionnaire used to facilitate quick completion and ease of analysis of results. Close attention was paid to language. An effort was made to optimize the sequence of questions, I. E. Questions were made to flow in a smooth and logical manner. The questionnaire and interviews began with ass and non-threatening questions in order to build a rapport with the respondents.

2. 6. 1. 1 Construct validity and content validity of questions The constructs were define all constructs to fit the context of the variables under investigation.The questions that asked were derived from the constructs after thorough analysis of the defining concepts. 2.

6. 1. 2 Reliability In order to ensure the reliability of the results, multiple indicators were used to measure the same construct. An inconsistency in responses would indicate that questions were not properly formulated and that each question measuring the same instruct is not interpreted in the same way. 2. 6.

2 Measuring scale The questionnaire combined Liker and Turnstone scaling. The Liker scale was used to measure employee general feelings and attitudes about the nature of their work.The Turnstone scale was used to make a comparative Judgment on the most frequent responses the frequency of pain experienced and the associated work type being done. This scale serves to give an indication on how dispersed or condensed group responses are. 2. 6. 3 Pilot study A pilot study was used to pre-test and revise the data collection instruments.

The aim f the pre-test was to ensure that the language and concepts could be clearly understood, the response categories are appropriate and that participants could answer the questions easily.Peers were given questionnaires and were asked to confirm the clarity of questions. Next, the questionnaire had to be tested on the group who were intended to complete the questionnaire. Five employees were randomly chosen and asked to complete the pilot questionnaire.

Feedback from the employees indicated that a simplification of terms was necessary. Questions were modified to use include use of layman terms so that they could be understood more easily.