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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 79-83
 

Ergonomic implementation and work station design for quilt manufacturing unit


Department of Family Resource Management, College of Home Science, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Web Publication13-Feb-2013

Correspondence Address:
Deepa Vinay
Department of Family Resource Management, College of Home Science, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.107081

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  Abstract 

Background: Awkward, extreme and repetitive postures have been associated with work related musculoskeletal disorders and injury to the lowerback of workers engaged in quilting manufacturing unit. Basically quilt are made manually by hand stitch and embroidery on the quilts which was done in squatting posture on the floor. Mending, stain removal, washing and packaging were some other associated work performed on wooden table. their work demands to maintain a continuous squatting posture which leads to various injuries related to low back and to calf muscles. Material and Method s: The present study was undertaken in Tarai Agroclimatic Zone of Udham Singh Nagar District of Uttarakhand State with the objective to study the physical and physiological parameters as well as the work station layout of the respondent engaged on quilt manufacturing unit. A total of 30 subjects were selected to study the drudgery involved in quilt making enterprise and to make the provision of technology option to reduce the drudgery as well as musculoskeletal disorders, thus enhancing the productivity and comfortability. Results: Findings of the investigation show that majority of workers (93.33 per cent) were female and very few (6.66 per cent) were the male with the mean age of 24.53±6.43. The body mass index and aerobic capacity (lit/min) values were found as 21.40±4.13 and 26.02±6.44 respectively. Forty per cent of the respondents were having the physical fitness index of high average whereas 33.33 per cent of the respondents had low average physical fitness. All the assessed activities involved to make the quilt included a number of the steps which were executed using two types of work station i.e squatting posture on floor and standing posture using wooden table. A comparative study of physiological parameters was also done in the existing conditions as well as in improved conditions by introducing low height chair and wooden spreader to hold the load of quilt while working, to improve the work posture of the worker. The average working heart rate values were found to reduced by performing the activity using improved technology followed by energy expenditure (6.99 kj/min), total cardiac cost of work (1037.95 beats), physiological cost of work (103.79 beats) and rate of perceived rate of exertion to the score of 2.6 Results of postural analysis that is change in motion at cervical region reveal that range of motion in case of extension was found beyond the normal range in existing setup where as it reduced to normal range in improved work station. Conclusion: The finding of the study concludes that to ensure safety and to reduce occupational health hazards while performing the activity, an ergonomically designed work station by introduction of improved technology option will be a right choice which also enhances the productivity.


Keywords: Work station, ergonomic intervention, energy expenditure, musculoskeletal disorders


How to cite this article:
Vinay D, Kwatra S, Sharma S, Kaur N. Ergonomic implementation and work station design for quilt manufacturing unit. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2012;16:79-83

How to cite this URL:
Vinay D, Kwatra S, Sharma S, Kaur N. Ergonomic implementation and work station design for quilt manufacturing unit. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Jul 20];16:79-83. Available from: http://www.ijoem.com/text.asp?2012/16/2/79/107081



  Introduction Top


Industrial work design is defined as a specification of work content, method and relationships to satisfy the requirement of the worker and the system. It must be developed as an integrated whole, taking into consideration the interdependencies among skills, organization and technology. On the other hand, the concept of job satisfaction is typically defined as an individual's attitude about work roles and the relationship to worker motivation. There can be no job satisfaction where there is no motivation.

People are an essential part of every enterprise and critical to delivering quality products. This resource becomes costlier when a worker injured or become ill which in turn increases direct cost and there is loss of the valuable services provided by them. Micro enterprise has assumed super importance for accelerating economic growth both in developed and developing countries. It promotes capital formation and creates wealth in country. It is hope and dreams of millions of individuals around the world. It reduces unemployment and poverty and it is a pathway to prosper. Entrepreneurship is the process of exploring the opportunities in the market place and arranging resource required to exploit these opportunities for long term gain.

Entrepreneurship in rural areas may be developed through the adoption of new technologies not only for improving the productivity and production of rural resources but it enhances substantially also, beyond one can expect. Hi-tech projects in the area of quilt making by its export to the metropolitan cities have established their unique place in the wake of liberalization and globalization on Indian economy. Involvement of women in quilt enterprise is more as compared to men. To assess the impact of occupational health hazards and disorders due to prolonged sitting, standing and bending and various other types of postural discomforts to the performer, the present study was undertaken with the following objectives.

  1. To study the physical characteristics of the subjects.
  2. To study the workstation layout of quilting enterprise.
  3. Analysis of Postures of the subjects involved in quilt making.
  4. To study the physiological parameters of the subjects engaged in quilt manufacturing unit.



  Methodology Top


The study was conducted in Tarai agro-climatic zone of Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand State India. Descriptive cum experimental research design was planned to gather the information. A total of 30 respondents from the above said locale were selected for the study. The physical fitness of the respondents was calculated and interoperated by using physical fitness index (PFI) score given by Verghese, et al. [1] (1994) and the respondents were ranked from poor to excellent.



Aerobic capacity (VO2 max (l/min) was calculated by using following formula:

0.023 × Body weight (kg) - 0.034 × Age (years) + 1.65

Interpretation of VO2 scores to determine physical fitness of select subject was done as per VO2 (ml/kg × min) and compared by Linear Equation given by Saha.

Data on physiological parameter was gathered using polar heart rate Monitor and postural analysis by using inclinometer. Rate of perceived exertion was recorded using 5 point scale (very light-1 to very heavy-5) given by Verghese, et al. [1] (1994).


  Results and Discussion Top


It can be envisaged from [Table 1] that the mean age of the respondents involved in quilting enterprise was of 24.53 years ± 6.43, and the height of 149.60 cm ± 5.59. The gross body weight was found as 45.80 kg ± 4.66 with lean body mass of 30.39 kg ± 4.81. The body mass index (BMI) and VO2 values were found as 21.40 ± 4.13 and 26.02 ± 6.44 respectively.
Table 1: Physical characteristics of the subjects


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Physical fitness index as shown in [Figure 1] depicts that forty percent of the respondents fall in the category of high average physical fitness index followed by low average (33.33%) and good (26.66%) physical fitness.
Figure 1: Physical fitness index of quilt making workers

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[Table 2] portraits the detail of work station layout. Data reveals that activities conducted at the workstation included quilting work and inspection of the quilts. Inspection work included the series of steps like checking, mending, washing stain removal and packaging. All these activities were performed in sitting standing and squatting posture. The quilting work was done by adopting squatting and sitting posture on the floor during the entire time span [Figure 2]. The dimension of work station was 248 cm × 273 cm. Pain in neck, back and calf muscles was reported by 100% of the respondent as process of quilting uses a needle and thread to join three layers of material to make a quilt. As continuous attentiveness and smoothness is must to produce perfect stuff which make this work very tedious and leads to work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD's). Whereas in the second stage the work was performed in standing posture using high wooden table [Figure 3] with the dimension of 245 cm × 120 cm. All necessary provisions were made available at the work station but prolonged standing posture while performing the activity leads to stiffness of calf muscles and besides this pain in feet as well as in the back was also reported by the subjects.
Table 2: Assessment of work station layout detail


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Figure 2: Traditional method of quilting

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Figure 3: Traditional method of mending/checking/packaging

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Findings also reveals that the standing type workstation was found unconducive for long hours of working and the main problem identified was lack of provision of sitting posture. After the process of quilting, the product has to undergo through stages of checking, mending stain removal, piping washing, final checking and packaging. All the work of inspection to final packaging was found to be performed on wooden table by 100% of the respondent in standing posture along with few steps of bending for 8 h of duration. Pain in lower limbs and back was reported by 90% of respondents.

Work process study details shows that quilt making is a continuous process which involved spreading the backing material, spreading of insulating material over the backing material (cotton in all cases) and the top fabric. After spreading the three layers one upon another quilting work was done and on an average 6-8 h were required to make 1 quilt. After quilting work checking of the quilt undergoes 12 stages of inspection. The duration of each cycle varies from 10 min to 120 min.

[Table 3] depicts the level of work related disorders in quilt manufacturing unit. Hundred percent of respondents reported swelling and pain in neck, shoulder, lower back, and knees. A few (30%) respondents also reported eye stress and headache problems. Apart from this numbness, stiffness of calf muscles and ankles were also reported by 92% of respondents. All work related disorders were reported to be bearable and their frequency of occurrence symptoms was found very often.
Table 3: Level of work related disorders in quilt manufacturing unit


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Work station design

Ergonomic knowledge is essential to the design, process and implementation, lack of which result in unnecessary discomfort and fatigue among quilt making workers. This fatigue mostly arises from postural problems due to inadequate work station design. The aim of workstation design for quilt manufacturing unit was to achieve maximum postural comfort/efficiency, which means comfortable working condition and reduction of fatigue inducing elements. The ideal industrial workstation should be compatible not only with the systems performance requirements but also with the user's safety and health (Das and Sengupta [2] 1996).

Xu [3] and Kerr [4] , et al. in 1997 and 2001 respectively reported that prolong standing and long working hours in a physically demanding job are associated with low back pain, calf muscle pain, neck shoulder pain and other muscular and skeletal disorders which was one of the most prevalent health problem in most enterprises.

To overcome the job induced musculoskeletal problems, a low height chair with spreader table was designed and introduced to improve the work posture of quilt enterprise workers [Figure 4]. The specification of spreader was made to accommodate the population between the 5 th and 95 th percentiles.
Figure 4: Spreader table and low height chair

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Most of the activities related to inspection work in this enterprise like checking, mending, stain removal, piping and packing were performed in standing posture on large wooden table/platform due to which respondents feel tiredness. Hence need was felt to introduce the gender neutral technology to make the performer comfortable by reducing musculoskeletal disorders which in turn increased the productivity as well. The provision of sitting in between the total working span was provided by introducing high stool to provide the rest pause in between the work [Figure 5].
Figure 5: Improved method of mending/checking/packaging

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Ergonomic implementation

Physiological parameters of the respondents were compared between existing and improved workstation and it was found that the average working heart rate for existing method was 102.09 beats/min which was reduced to 98.83 beats/min in case of improved method. Average peak heart rate was recorded as 109.90 beats/min in case of existing method and was reduced to 105.44 beats/min while adopting improved work station i.e., using spreader table with low height chair.

Average energy expenditure and peak energy expenditure was recorded as 7.65 kj/min and 8.75 kj/min respectively while using existing methods in quilting whereas it was found to be reduced to 6.99 kj/min and 8.04 kj/min respectively for improved methods. The average TCCW values for existing method was found as 1037.95 beats whereas TCCW was found 1008.64 beats while adopting improved method [Table 4]. Similar findings were also reported by Vinay D. et al. [5] 2010-2011.
Table 4: Physiological work load of quilt making workers


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It can also be seen from the [Table 4] that PCW value reduced from 103.79 beats to 100.86 beats while adopting improved method in quilting enterprise. Average rating of perceived exertion was also reduced from the score of 3.2 to a score of 2.6 while using improved method over exiting one. Though the Significant reduction in improved over existing was not very much but the intensity and occurrence of MSD reduces to a lot.

Postural analysis was also recorded to find out the change in motion in cervical region and it was noted that the range of motion in case of extension was more than the normal range in case of existing method i.e., 80° [Table 5] where as rest of the data was found within the normal range. Significant reduction of 61.53% in flexion and 76.87% in extension was recorded using the improved work station.
Table 5: Postural analysis of quilt making workers


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Similar studies was reported by (Andersson et al. [6] 1977, and Chaffin [7] 1973) that awkward postures were found to be the major concern for worker who is performing repetitive jobs due to the frequency and cumulative effects of exposure. Non-neutral back postures such as flexion, lateral bending, and/or twisting increase the level of muscle fatigue and intradiscal pressure in the lumbar spine.


  Summary Top


The result of this process evaluation showed that provision of spreader table and chair can be a feasible and successful strategy to overcome work related musculoskeletal problems of quilt manufacturing unit. The implementation of the prioritized ergonomic measures would be of great help in order to reduce work related injuries and will promote worker's well being and increased the productivity of quilt manufacturing unit.

 
  References Top

1.Verghese MA, Saha PN, Bhatnagar A, Chauhan M. Development of data base for occupational Workload and physical fitness status of India women. Bombay: DSA Project Report, SNDT Women's University; 1994.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Das B, Sengupta AK. Industrial workstation design: A systematic ergonomics approach. Appl Ergon 1996;27:157-63.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Xu Y, Bach E, Orhede E. Work environment and low back pain: The influence of occupational activities. Occup Environ Med 1997;54:741-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Kerr MS, Frank JW, Shannon HS, Norman RW, Wells RP, Neumann WP, et al. Biomechanical and psychosocial risk factors for low back pain at work. Am J Public Health 2001;91:1069-75.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Vinay D, Kwatra S & Sharma S. Ergonomic studies on drudgery reduction of women home, farm and allied activities. Annual Report (2010-11). Pantnagar: All India Coordinated Research Project in Home Science G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology.   Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Andersson GB, Ortengren R, Herberts P. Quantitative electromyographic studies of back muscle activity relatated to posture and loading. Orthop Clin North Am 1977;8:85-96.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.Chaffin DB. Localized muscle fatigue-definiton and measurement. J Occup Med 1973;15:346-54.  Back to cited text no. 7
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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