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Ergonomic hazards on brick making industry. Case study of a brick company in Zimbabwe

Bachelor Thesis 2017 40 Pages

Medicine - Social medicine, Industrial / Occupational Medicine

Excerpt

Table of Contents

DEDICATION

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ABSTRACT

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Aim
1.4 Objectives
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Justification

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Ergonomic Hazards at workplaces
2.2 Benefits of ergonomics
2.3 Effects of poor ergonomics
2.3.1 Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs)
2.3.2 Repetitive strain injuries
2.3.3 Carpal tunnel syndrome
2.3.4 Tenosynovitis
2.3.5 Tendonitis
2.4 Risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders
2.5 Management of ergonomic hazards
2.5.1 Engineering controls
2.5.2 Administrative control
2.5.3 Personal protective equipment’s
2.6 Influence of ergonomic training and awareness to employees

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Description of study area
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Study Population
3.4 Sample and sampling procedures
3.5 Data Collection Methods and Techniques
3.5.1 Questionnaires
3.5.2 NIOSH inspection checklist for ergonomic factors
3.6 Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS
4.1 Common ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks
4.2 The level of awareness of XY Bricks workers on ergonomic hazards

CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION
5.1 Common Ergonomic hazards at Beta Holding
5.2 Ergonomic hazard awareness

CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 Conclusions
6.2 Recommendations

References

Appendixes

Appendix 1 Sample Inspection Checklist form

Appendix 2: Sample Questionnaire:

QUESTIONNAIRE

Appendix 3: Common ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks from Checklist

Appendix 4: Common ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks from the Questionnaire

DEDICATION

To my loving mother; Mrs. G Kandoko, the late Mr. C Kandoko, my best mentor; my father, my aunt; Mrs. S Moyo, my research supervisor, my young brother, friends and fellow students, this is for you.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to first thank God for giving me strength, hope and endurance to be able to complete this study.

All gratitude is extended to University associates and accomplices who facilitated for the carrying out and completion of this study. Mrs L Mabhungu, my supervisor must be applauded for giving me guidance and assistance during the entire study. I would like to express my appreciation to XY Bricks[1] Zimbabwe that provided with the platform to conduct the research. Special thanks to my industrial attachment mentors Mrs K N. and Mr B C. and Ms N M. for their facility, technical guidance and support.

I would like to thank mother Mrs G Kandoko, my brother Mr I Kandoko and my friend Tinashe Malukula who supported me financially and emotionally during the whole course of this study. Thank you for encouraging me to be a hard worker and a center of excellence, l appreciate and love you most sincerely.

ABSTRACT

The basic understanding of ergonomic hazards at work places is vital for the prevention of work related musculoskeletal related injuries. The study assessed the ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks. A cross sectional design was used to collect information on the hazards. The sample was drawn from five work sections covering from brick molding up to brick dispatch and these were; brick extruding, brick cutting, brick setting, brick packing and brick dispatching. The research was based on questionnaires and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NOISH) inspection checklist for ergonomic factors as methods of gathering the required data. Total of 38 questionnaires were used to assess employees on common ergonomic hazards and ergonomic hazard awareness. The questionnaires were used to establish worker perceptions with regards to ergonomics. A total of 40 inspections were conducted using the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NOISH) ergonomic checklist to identify the ergonomic hazards. Descriptive analysis was done using SPSS version 16.0 of 2007 to get frequency and percentiles. The results showed that the common ergonomic hazards were repetition, awkward postures, forceful motion, stationary work positions and vibration. The study found that employees are exposed to ergonomic hazards which include repetition, awkward postures, forceful motions, stationary working positions, vibration, work stress. From the results of the study it is evidenced that XY Bricks is not an ergonomically safe workplace. Therefore it will be important to implement ergonomics intervention at this brick manufacturing organization.

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 3.1: Location of map for XY Bricks[2]

Figure 4.1: Knowledge of total respondents on ergonomic hazard awareness

Figure 4.2: The Knowledge of respondents on ergonomic hazards

LIST OF TABLES

Table 3.1: Study Population

Table 3.2: Study Sample

Table 3.3: Study Sample

Table 3.4: Questionnaire Response

Table 4.1: Response Rate of the Questionnaires

Table 4.2: Ergonomic Hazards identified at XY Bricks

Table 4.3: Ergonomic Hazards identified at XY Bricks

LIST OF ACRONYMS

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of study

Ergonomics is a science discipline which is concerned with understanding the relationship between humans and social-technical system elements (Colombini et al, 2000 ). According to the International Labor Organization (2005), 160-270 million workers suffer from occupational diseases or accidents every year. The statistics of the Global Burden of diseases which has been developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), reported that muscular skeletal diseases (MSDs) contributes 37% of the disease burden which is attributable to occupational risk factors (Johnson et al. 2011). In the developed countries some mechanization was introduced but various studies show that the workers working in the brick manufacturing units suffer from musculoskeletal problems (Cook 1996, Chung and Kee, 2000; Trevelyan and Haslani, 2001). Pandey and Vats (2013) highlighted that the prevalence of MSDs has increased dramatically in developing countries. This might be a result of poor mechanization and poor working environment. Workers in manufacturing industries are often exposed to ergonomic challenges (Samuels, 2005). Tasks in brick making involve a very wide range of physical action from positions and postures that may not be ideal and could place workers at risk for accidents and injuries (Manoharan, et al 2012). In a study by Gerr, et al (1991) muscular skeletal disorders in manufacturing industries are caused by repetitive task, poor postures, force and manual handling.

According to Souza et al. (2002), manufacturing industries occupy a prominent position on the frequency and severity of accidents, especially the type of damage caused to the worker, often permanent injuries, deaths and the long period of absence from work. Studies which were conducted in India evidenced that workers in brick making industries suffer from different health problems which are caused by poor working and carrying of heavy loads (Sett and Sahu, 2008).

Beta bricks is a construction manufacturing brick making industry which is a well-recognized brand in Zimbabwe’s construction sector. It is one of the largest brick producers in Zimbabwe producing 60 to 80 million brick per year thereby creating employment for many people. They are known for producing good quality and pleasing aesthetics clay bricks. Employees at Beta Holding are involve in manual work in their daily activities which include brick setting, bricking packing and brick dispatching. Manual handling work may expose the employee to different ergonomic hazard. According to Smallwood (2004) the nature of manufacturing processes presents ergonomic challenges. Safety and health monitoring programs have been implemented at Beta Holding but there is no baseline information on ergonomics hazards associated with the work therefore creating a major problem as control measure cannot be developed to ensure safety of the employees. In this way, the present study aims to assess ergonomic hazards in a brick making industries located in Harare in Mt Hampden.

1.2 Statement of the problem

High ergonomic related challenges have been faced at XY Bricks which is evidenced by workers’ complaints. According to Mt Hampden clinic (2014) an average of 23 back pain problems and other different limb pains are recorded every quarter. These problems are suspected to be emerging from the work designs and the tools and equipment used in brick making industries. Safety and health monitoring program have been implemented at Beta Holding but there is no baseline information on ergonomics hazards therefore creating a major problem as control measure cannot be developed to save the employees.

1.3 Aim

- To assess the ergonomic hazards at Beta holding.

1.4 Objectives

- To determine the common ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks.
- To determine the level of awareness of XY Bricks workers on ergonomic hazards related to their work.

1.5 Research Questions

- What are the ergonomic hazards which are commonly experienced by the employees?
- What is the level awareness of XY Bricks employees on ergonomic hazard?

1.6 Justification

The recurrence of an average of 23 back and limb injuries every quarter have brought a concern to occupational safety and health performance of XY Bricks. The research will help XY Bricks to know the ergonomic hazards in workplace and to manage the identified hazards. By identifying the hazards and managing them this will protect the employees’ health and safety. The study information will also bridge the gap found in Zimbabwe’s ergonomic challenges baseline information relative to brick manufacturing industries. Therefore the employers in brick making industries will be able to put measures that will ensure safety of the employees. The research will also give XY Bricks financial benefits as the research will help to prevent accidents and injuries that will cost the organization in compensating.

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Ergonomic Hazards at workplaces

Ergonomics is the study of workplace design, tools, environment, product, equipment, tool, environment, and system which considers human being’s physical and psychological capabilities and improves the work systems of productivity and effectiveness while assuring wellbeing and workers safety and health (Fernandez and Marley 1998). According to Chapanis (1985) ergonomics determines and relates information about human abilities, limitations, behaviour and other workplace characteristics which may include design of machines, tools, jobs, the environment and the tasks to produce quality production, in a comfortable, safe manner.

Ergonomic Hazards refers to physical stressors and workplace conditions that pose a risk of injury or illness to the musculoskeletal system of the worker (NOISH 1992). They have an impact negative impact to the employees same as to the employer. If these ergonomic hazards are poor managed they may result to work related musculoskeletal disorders.Well-designed jobs improve employees’ efficiency, safety, and satisfaction (Grant, 1996). If work or equipment is not suitable to the worker, the worker experiences discomfort. If the workplace is ergonomically designed the workstation will be safe and comfortable for the worker. The principle goal of ergonomics is to make the job and workplace fit for the employee not vice versa (Al swaity and Enshassi 2005). Kroemer (2002) highlighted that ergonomic hazards may include awkward postures, forceful movements, repetitive, improper postures, improper designs and equipment. Ergonomics hazards may arise from poor job designs and organizational factors which include excessive work durations, excessive work rates, external pacing of work, less time to rest and lack of task variety (Luopajarvi, 1990).

Ergonomic hazards can be classified into physical and cognitive ergonomic hazards. Physical ergonomics deals with the physical load on the human body when performing work activities. Physical ergonomics deals with human physical and bio mechanical characteristics as they interact with physical activities (Karwowski and Marras, 2003). It deals with the human body’s responses to physical and physiological stress. Example of physical ergonomics hazards include; working postures, working hours, works that require a lot of force and repetitive work. Although physical risk factors are important first-line risk factors, there are other plausible factors such as organizational and psychosocial factors that may provoke a disorder or indirectly influence the effect of physical risk factors (Hagberg et al., 1995). Cognitive ergonomics is another class of ergonomic hazards. It is a developing class of ergonomics. It deals with human factors including their capabilities. Cognitive ergonomics emphases on the appropriate between human cognitive abilities and limitations and the machine, task, and environment, organizational hazards and environment hazards which affect workers who operate at the place of work therefore these hazardous factors can influence occupational health discomforts of workers (Grant,1996). This approach addresses problems such as attention distribution, decision making, formation of learning skills, and usability of human-computer systems, cognitive aspects of metal load, stress and human errors at work (Canas et al., 2010).

2.2 Benefits of ergonomics

Ergonomics is important because it enhances worker’s performance and it also prevents workers from work related injuries. It is directed towards to fit workers with their work task and jobs, equipment, environment and work systems to ensure that the workplaces are efficient, safe, and comfortable. According to Jayaratne (2012) ergonomics can solve physical, psychological and social aspects of work-related problems, thus optimizing human well-being and overall system performance. Application of ergonomics principles improves the quality of working life. The major importance of ergonomics is that it improves the workplace environment so that it best suits the workers and enables efficiency and quality production. According to Kroemer (2002) ergonomics determines human characteristics, limitations, capabilities and desires which are necessary for the workplace design, increasing human efficiency and workers’ safety. The spectrum of ergonomics includes environmental factors and physical factors. It is important for the work design, work task, the environment to suit the capabilities and needs of the worker. (Purnawatt, 2007) in his study he mentioned that ergonomics is still considered a low priority as a result there is limited use of capital and low levels of enforcement.

2.3 Effects of poor ergonomics

Ergonomics should be considers in the design of workplace and the job should suit or fit the employees by any means. Lack of consideration of ergonomics in the design of workplaces and jobs can result in injuries and illness, fatigue and discomfort, inefficient working practices, poor quality of work and errors, equipment which is awkward and uncomfortable to use, lost time and poor morale. Therefore in the long run ergonomics challenges can affect the productivity of the company. Poor ergonomics can results in Work Related Musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). WMSDs can be defined as any injury to the human support system, including the bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, nerves due to exposure to hazards at the workplace (Rolander, 2001). MSDs, impact negatively on worker's ability to perform tasks resulting in them being unable to maintain their quality of life (Stock et al, 1998). Disorders have resulted in prominent problems in industries in form of workers health problems and financial problems due to reduced worker capabilities and lessening production (Luopajarvi, 1990). In a study by Saldana (1996) MSDs may affect the body soft tissues, including damage to the tendons, tendon sheath, muscles, and nerves of the hands, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck and back. Therefore if an organisation gives a blind eye to ergonomics principles it will lose a lot in the business long run. According to Michalak-Turcotte (2000) sufferers of WMSDs may experience numbness, tingling, pain, decreased strength or swelling of the affected area. According to Putz-Anderson (1988) the average employee loses nearly two days of work each year as a result of these disorders. However, disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused or aggravated by no occupational factors (Franklin et al 1991). Poor ergonomics can lead to health challenges that may include cumulative trauma disorders, repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis and tendonitis (Haupt et al, 2004).Below is the explanation of the health challenges.

2.3.1 Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs).

Cumulative trauma disorders (CTD) is one of disease most common among workers in industries. CTDs includes hand and wrist repetitive trauma injuries or illnesses. According to Brogmus and Mark (1991) brick manufacturing processes in US are ranked in the top 10 of highest job classifications that incur high percentage of cumulative trauma disorders claims. CTDs can results from combination of nervous system and musculosketal disorders which can caused by improper postures, repetitive work, vibrations and forceful work exertions. CTDs are examples of Cumulative Trauma Disorders include carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), tenosynovitis, and tendinitis

2.3.2 Repetitive strain injuries

Musculo-skeletal Disorders (MSD) in the neck, shoulders and upper limbs as well as of the lower back also referred to as repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), cause distress and disability (Baril et al 1994). In most cases Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) results from repetitive motions, which are performed one at a time in a very short work cycle.

2.3.3 Carpal tunnel syndrome

It is a type of nerve entrapment results from the buildup of pressure on the median nerve for the construction workers due to carrying of loads and strong gripping for long time (Brogmus and Marko, 1991). Cumulative trauma disorders are one the most severe disorder that is expressed by employees (Gerard, 1996). CTS can occur because of swollen tendons within the carpal tunnel area. Construction work leaves the worker at high risk of CTS. If CTS remains untreated the condition may deteriorate and may cause a loss of grip strength, increased pain during the night, and the permanent loss of hand function.

2.3.4 Tenosynovitis

Tenosynovitis is the tenderness of tendons and sheath which is related with works demanding great wrist deviation of the workers (Luopajarvi et al., 1979). In general terms it can be called irritation of the synovial cover of the tendon caused by Cumulative Trauma Disorders risk factors. Poor work station designs, poor tool designs, excessive work may contribute to the development of the diseases.

2.3.5 Tendonitis

This disease occurs when a tendon is repetitively used thereby causing soreness. Repetitive or cumulative injuries like tendonitis occur commonly in jobs where a great deal of repetition occurs (Schneider et al., 1999). When conducting normal work the tendons fibers can have small effects which can be healed by the body unlike excessive use and lack of recovery time does not allow the healing of the tears completely. Tendonitis is a form of tendon inflammation that occurs when a muscle or tendon is repeatedly tensed (Putz-Anderson, 1988). A form of tendon According to (Putz-Anderson, 1988) lack of proper rest and recovery time required for tissues to heal may cause permanent damage to the tendons. Tendonitis usually affects the neck, elbows, shoulders and wrists. The risk factors for tendonitis are repetition, frequency, awkward postures, vibrations and force.

2.4 Risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders

A risk factor can be defined as an attribute or exposure that increases the probability of diseases or disorder (Basra and Crawford 1995). Work related musculoskeletal disorders can be caused by the working environment, job type, and tool being used. According to Putz-Anderson (1988) risk factors results from stressors being applied to specific parts of the body during the execution of tasks. Risk factors are actions in the workplace, workplace conditions, or a combination thereof that may cause or aggravate a work related musculoskeletal disorders (Ergoweb 2008). Singh et al (2009) if the work demands exceeds what the physical body of the employees is capable of handling, the employee may suffer from MSD and CTD injuries. In a study by Trevelyen and Haslam (2001) it was concluded that poor standing postures and undesirable wrist position are the risk factors that may result in MSDs in brick making industry According to Gigstad (2002) there are a number of risk factors associated with the development of cumulative trauma injuries in industry. However Kostiuk (2008) highlighted that it is difficult to measure how each factor contribute to the development of MSD’s because they all affect each other. Among the most prevalent of the risk factors include force, vibration, repetition, thermal stressors and postures (Putz-Anderson, 1988). Ayoub (1990) highlighted that these risk factors become hazardous due to prolonged repetitive, often in a forceful and awkward manner, without sufficient rest or recovery. In a study by Qutubuddin et al., (2013) it was reviewed that workers experienced injuries in different body parts due to work process and management inaction in providing safe work environment

2.5 Management of ergonomic hazards

As much as an industry can have ergonomic hazards the hazards can be dealt with to make the workplace ergonomic hazard free (Faucet, et al., 2002). Installation of ergonomic principles can improve safety and productivity and reducing employer costs (Frymoyer 1997). Ergonomic hazards can be managed by properly designing of the job or work station and selecting of the appropriate tools or equipment for that job. The interventions identified to reduce the risk of MSDs in construction could be classified as: new materials, new tools and equipment, improved work practices, improved work organization and planning, education and exercise and personal protection equipment (Bronkhorst et al., 1997). According to Henry (2004) ergonomics practices can help the workplace by reorganizing, or redesigning the workstation, by allowing employees to rotate jobs, decreasing the number of repetitions required in the task, reducing the force required in the task, providing education training on correct posture for the tasks and encourage stretches during break times. Below are the ergonomics hazards controls

2.5.1 Engineering controls

Engineering controls refer to a physical modification of task, process, workstation, tools and equipment in a way that will help in preventing any harm or danger. Karwowski and Marras, (2003) engineering control can be used as an effective measure controlling the workplace hazards. They place a role in reducing the exposure of risk at the source by eliminating variables. The use of engineering controls can reduce the injury risks. Examples of engineering controls include introducing lifting mechanisms in industries, redesigning workstation layouts, reducing vibrations effects by using robotic arms, changing the operation process, use of machines to reduce repetitive and awkward postures.

2.5.2 Administrative control.

These are controls which include the use of workplace policies, work procedures and practices which prevent the exposure of the employees to the ergonomics hazards by using administrative techniques such as adding number of employees to conduct a certain job, job rotation, introducing recovery breaks, training and awareness programs. Administrative controls involve changing how or when employees do their jobs, such as scheduling work and rotating employees to reduce exposure (Spellman 2006). Karwowski, & Marras, (2003) highlighted that administrative controls include reducing excessive frequency, duration, and force on the body by prohibiting overtime. Administrative controls are deemed less effective than engineering controls because they reduce the frequency and duration of risk exposure thereby not reducing the hazard directly at the source. According to Konz, (1984) Administrative controls are applied when engineering controls are either not effective or cost efficient.

2.5.3 Personal protective equipment’s

The use of PPE is considered as the last priority because it does not eliminate the ergonomic hazards but it can work to reduce or minimize exposure to the hazard. According to Spellman (2006) using PPE is often essential, but it is generally the last line of defense after engineering controls, work practices and administrative controls. It is used when hazards are not controllable from the source. PPE include the use of helmets, safety shoes, gloves, goggles, earmuffs, to mention just a few and all these provide support and shield the employee from the hazard therefore reducing exposure. It is critical to ensure that introduced PPE controls fit the individual employee, are appropriate for the task, and do not contribute to extreme postures or force (Konz, 1984).

2.6 Influence of ergonomic training and awareness to employees

According to (Patkin 1987) application of ergonomics result in improved working techniques, reducing human errors and accidents and increased efficiency. Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform more effectively (Blanchard & Thacker, 1999). Poor work ergonomics can results to slow development of diseases such as Cumulative trauma disorders, repetitive strain injuries, musculoskeletal disorders and occupational overuse syndrome. If workers are aware of work tasks and equipment that do not include ergonomic principles in their design, workers may be able to report or complain if exposed to undue physical stress, strain, and overexertion which may include vibration, awkward postures, forceful exertions, repetitive motion, and heavy lifting. According to Annis & McConville (1996) the objective of this division of ergonomics is to create the best possible job situation to enhance the worker’s physical and mental health, production efficiency, and product quality. Ergonomics awareness will help in recognizing ergonomic risk factors in the workplace and it is an essential first step in correcting hazards and improving worker protection. In a study which was conducted in Malaysia by Shameem et al. (2001), industrial workers in Malaysia are were less educated and are ignorant of environmental and working standards, therefore they were not able to complain about work conditions. Bohr (2000) further reported that participants who received ergonomic training reported less stress and pain/discomfort than did those who had not received training.

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Description of study area

[3] XY Bricks is a brick making company established in 1953. The company traced its origin from Alpha Bricks which was later named XY Bricks in 1991 after of ownership. In 2011 the company started manufacturing concrete roofing. XY Bricks has two brick making plants which are Plant 1 and Plant 2. This research will focus on the Plant 1 brick making plant covering from brick molding up to brick dispatch. Figure 3.1 below shows the location of XY Bricks.

Figure 3.1: location map for XY Bricks.

3.2 Research Design

This study follows a cross sectional research design. Its main focus was to assess ergonomic hazard at XY Bricks. The researcher collected data in the month of August 2016. The research involved the use of questionnaires and an international hazard checklist to acquire information on the ergonomic hazards associated with the work. The research sample was drawn from five work sections covering from brick molding up to brick dispatch and these were; brick extruding, brick cutting, brick setting, brick packing and brick dispatching. A cross sectional study was conducted as the data was collected at one time at one worksite. Information on work shifts and schedules were obtained from the department supervisor.

3.3 Study Population

Beta Holding consist of two brick making plants namely Plant 1 and Plant 2, making them two work departments. The two plants consist of 200 employees in total. The departments consist of same work section namely brick extruding, brick cutting, brick setting, brick packing and brick dispatching. Below is the summarised population distribution:

Table 3.1: Research Population

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3.4 Sample and sampling procedures

XY Bricks consist of two brick making plants namely Plant 1 and Plant 2. Thereby, making two different departments, Plant 1 department and Plant 2 department. Out of the two brick making department (Plant 1 and Plant 2) the researcher used purposive sampling to select one department (Plant 1) from which the research participants were to be selected. Plant 1 department at Beta Holding Mt Hampden was selected because it is the department which consist of high number of employees among the two departments and it is the department with high complains of body pains. Purposive sampling methods were used to choose work sections were the participants were to be chosen from and the work sections include brick extruding, brick cutting, brick setting, brick packing and brick dispatching. Strata were created using stratified random sampling to group the above mentioned work sections. From the created strata groups the researcher used convenient sampling to choose research respondents from brick extruding and brick cutting, Since 2 experts are needed per shift respectively 4 respondents were chosen. Cluster sampling technique was used to group employees from brick setting, brick packing and brick dispatching. From the selected cluster groups the researcher used random sampling to select the actual respondents to answer his research questions. The data was collected from both the shifts day shift and night shift. Below are the summarized sample sizes.

3.5 Data Collection Methods and Techniques

This research was based on primary data through the use of questionnaires and NIOSH inspection checklist for ergonomic factors as methods of gathering the required data.

3.5.1 Questionnaires

Semi structured questionnaires were used to determine ergonomic hazards experienced by employees and to assess if the employees were aware of ergonomic hazards. The questionnaire consisted of closed and open-ended questions. Questionnaires were designed to suit all work sections. The questionnaires were handed over physically to respondents. Out of the 40 administered questionnaires there were 38 respondents and 2 uncertainties. Table 3.3 below shows how the questionnaires were distributed.

Table 3.3 Questionnaire Distribution

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The questionnaire responses were coded and tallied question-by-question to aid data presentation in Chapter four. The questionnaires were issued to respondents on the beginning of the work shift and were returned at the end of the work shift so as to avoid them from getting lost. Questionnaires were chosen because they are relatively cheap, easy to administer. This eliminated bias as information is provided in the absence of the researcher. Self-completion of questionnaires also guaranteed confidentiality. Furthermore, with closed questions, answers are standardized and this help in interpreting response.

3.5.2 NIOSH inspection checklist for ergonomic factors

The researcher conducted the inspections, observing same 40 participants which were selected as the research sample while they were doing their daily jobs. The inspections were conducted so as to assess ergonomic hazards that are experienced by the employees. The employees were observed doing a complete job cycle while the observer was paying special attention to ergonomic hazards which were on the checklist. Inspection checklist was used to note down all ergonomic hazards experienced by each work.

3.6 Data Analysis

The data obtained from the questionnaire was gathered, coded and stored into SPSS version. The information collected were presented in tables. Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 16 (SPSS) was used for descriptive analysis utilising the crosstabs tool. The tool was used to obtain the frequency and the percentiles.

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS

4.1 Common ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks

The results shows that the common ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks include repetition and awkward postures, forceful motions, stationary positions, vibration, tasks that externally paced and work stress. From the results all of respondents from Green brick cutter, Green brick setter and final brick dispatcher experience repeated forceful work followed by 91.6% of Green brick packers who also experience repeated forceful work hazards Findings indicate that employees from extruder mixer controller were not exposed to the hazards. The results show that generally majority of workers (green brick cutter, green brick packer, green brick setter and final brick dispatcher) were exposed of awkward postures particularly bending or leaning forward as well as lifting below knee level. The extruder mixer controller are not exposed to standing in one position for long time while all respondents from green brick cutter, green brick packer, green brick setter and final brick dispatcher are working in one position for long period. All of workers on the mixer controller are exposed to vibration hazards whilst other workers are not exposed to vibration equipment. Piece work is used as production incentive for all the employees. The results indicate that all the extruder mixer controller has sufficient work breaks and the rest of the employees have insufficient work breaks. (see appendix 3).

Generally all mixer controllers are not exposed to work that is externally pace while all the other respondents from Green brick cutter, green brick setter, green brick packing and final brick dispatch are doing work that is externally paced. All extruder mixer controllers are not exerting force with hands while all of respondents from Brick cutter, brick setting and brick packing exerting force with their hands. The results shows that 90.9% of the participants from green brick packing and all participants from the mixer extruder uses of tools or handles. All of participants from extruder mixer controllers, brick cutter, green brick setters, green brick packing and final brick dispatch are standing continuously for more than 30 minutes while performing their daily jobs and no employees from brick cutter are standing continuously for more than 30 minutes while performing their daily jobs. All of participants from the green brick cutter are sitting for more than 30 minutes without standing or moving around and participants from mixer controllers, brick cutter, green brick setters, green brick packing and final brick dispatch show that they are not sitting for more than 30 minutes without standing or moving around. Generally all green brick packers and final brick dispatch participants perform their duties kneeling. Among all employees from all work sections, 90.9% participants from green brick packer only are performing work with hands raised above shoulder heights. From the results is evidenced that all of respondents from brick cutter, brick setter, brick packer and final brick dispatch are performing work while bending and twisting the wrist. All green brick setter and final brick dispatch participants and 81.8% of green brick packing participants are lowering objects more than twice per minute for more than 15 minutes. From the results it is evidenced that all of respondents from green brick packing and final brick dispatch are lifting and lowering objects between floor and waist shoulder height when doing work. All work sections are lifting objects that cannot be held close to the body. Results shows that all of respondents from green brick packing are lifting lowering or carry objects weighing more than 22.6 kilograms. (see appendix 4)

4.2 The level of awareness of XY Bricks workers on ergonomic hazards

Majority of the respondents, 63% are not aware what ergonomic hazards are and 37% of the respondents are aware of what ergonomic hazards. Of the remaining 37% of the respondents 13.2% workers are aware of awkward, 8.1% of the respondents are aware of forceful work and 5.3% of the respondents are aware of work stressors. Table 4.4 below shows the results

Fig 4.2 The Knowledge of respondents on ergonomic hazards (n=38)

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CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION

5.1 Common Ergonomic hazards at Beta Holding

The ergonomics hazards which were identified included repetition, forceful motions, stationary positions, vibration, tasks that externally paced and work stress. Below is the discussion of the ergonomic hazards.

Generally, the highest percentage of respondents having repeated forceful work is faced by employees from green brick cutting, green brick setting, green brick packing and brick dispatch work this might be due to the high speed of the machine which moves at a fast speed so as to meet daily targets and due to manual work. Forceful work is inherent of industries that involve manual labour (Scott 2009) All the employees from all the work sections use same body part repeatedly when they are conducting their daily jobs this might be due to the nature and design of the job that require repeated work and these might be due to poor technological advancements. Job design where employees perform single main task in the brick making process can lead to repetitive activities (Ndivhudzannyi 2003). While green brick setters are exposed to bending this might be due to poor chairs they use while working which does not have a back and hand rests. Green brick setting, green brick packing and brick dispatch might be exposed to bending due to the level of the conveyor belts which is below the waist level, the low level of the brick firing clamps bases. Bending might be an attribute of poor lifting techniques that are adopted by the employees. The mainly cause of repeated bending and twisting of the trunk is work station design and position of equipment and tools (Kumar, 2001).

Respondent from green brick setters, green brick packing and brick dispatching highlighted that they are kneeling when working. This might be due position of the conveyor belt they try to reach brick from thereby forcing them to kneel. Awkward kneeling at work is caused by interactions between the operators and machines or materials in the production system (Peterson, 1997). Green brick packing and final brick dispatching respectively are perform work with hands raised above shoulder heights. This could be due to high level of brick stacks were they pack and unpack bricks. The position of the bricks might be forcing them to raise their hands so as to reach the bricks. Worker’ physical capabilities maybe affected by work designs and work equipment (Chung and Kee, 2000).

Green brick cutting, green brick setting, green brick packing and final brick dispatching perform work while bending and twisting at the wrist. This might be due to the position of bricks and the design of the tools they use when conducting work. Respondents from mixer controlling, green brick setting, green brick packing and final brick dispatch stand continuously for more than 30 minutes when conducting their daily duties. Thereby exposing them to poor postures this might be due to position of parts and equipment they use, speed of task that does not allow the employees to change the body position and this could also be due to duration of the task that are done continuously without giving the body chance to change its position. Work operators are forced to adopt certain position because corporate standards for human needs were not implemented fully and used in designing of the work processes (Wulff et al., 2000). The respondents from the brick cutter show that 0% of them are standing for more than 30 minutes this might be due to the nature of their job which is done while sitting.

The results show that the respondents from brick packing are lifting, pushing, or pulling more than 22.6kgs which is against the NOISH standards regulation. This might be due to absents of proper machinery which can be used to move the bricks from the conveyor belt to the firing clamps and the pace of work cycle. Lifting, lower or carry objects weighing more than 22.6kgs this might be due to the need to meet their targets and the high level of target that are unrealistic to meet forcing them to overload themselves This is agreed in a study by Pandey and Vats (2013) were it was highlighted that manual handling of bricks expose employees to objects weighing more than 50lb (22.6kgs). In a study by Mukhopadhyay (2008) his results showed that brick making employees were paid for the number of units of bricks produced, resulting to a tendency to working for longer working hours and over exhausting of workers It is evidenced by the results that respondents from green brick cutter, green brick setters, green brick packing and final brick dispatch are exerting force with hands while carrying their duties this could be due to strength and effort required by the job. This is supported in a study by (Pandey and Vats, 2013) where he found that male and female workers in brick industry usually require exerting force with their hands. Respondents from mixer controller are not exerting force this is due to the nature of their job that does not require strength to perform the require task as they only operate automatic machines. Employees from green brick cutter, green brick setters, brick packing and brick dispatch are lifting more than 2.7 with one hand which against NOISH standards regulations. This could be due to the work load which forces them to carry two or more bricks at the same time so as to cover the daily work targets. Daily targets influence fast working pace, where most workers lift more than two bricks (Ndivhudzannyi, 2003). While employees from green brick setting and final brick dispatching and green brick packing are lifting or lowering objects more than once per minute for continuous period of more than 15 minutes. This might be due to speed of work or work cycle and frequency of work. The employees might be forced to lift or lower objects continuous due to high production targets that need to be meet. Bao et al., (1997) highlighted that well balanced production system with less production workers result in high body movements Respondents from green brick cutter, green brick setting, green brick packing and brick dispatch shows that they are working in one position for long periods. This could be due to the nature of the job which is stationary and absence of job rotation and work pressure which does not allow the employees to rest or to change the working position. Work designs is the major contribution of static postures that may result in development problems of shoulder and upper limbs (Buckle and Stubbs, 1990). The results shows that workers from green brick setting, green brick packing and brick dispatch are standing for long periods while working. This could be due to the nature of the job which is stationary and absence of job rotation and work pressure which does not allow the employees to sit down. This could also be an attribute of the nature of the job which forces the employees to conduct work while standing. The design of the work system provides a number of performance constraints which the operator should perform within the assigned parameters (Neumann 2004). While respondents from green brick cutter shows that they are working while in sitting position for long periods. This could be due to the nature of the job were equipment which are used should be operated while one is sitting and absence of job rotation and work pressure which does not allow the employees to rest or to change the working position. The nature of the job itself primarily determines the worker’s mechanical exposure profile (Allread et al., 2000).

Vibration, environment and work stress are also other common ergonomic hazards. The results shows that the mixer controller are using vibrating hand tools. This could be due to the design of the tool which vibrates when working. This is augmented by Palmer, et al, (2006) and Griffin (2006) who reported that vibration exposure can be related to the types of work processes and types of tools used. Green brick packer and final brick dispatch respectively use of hand to tools or handle parts thereby posing a hazard to the employees. This might be due to the design of parts, equipment or tools which need to be handled by the employees. According to Hagberg et al., (1995) poor designed tools and handles may be the cause of direct mechanical pressure on the body. The results also shows that respondents from mixer control, green brick cutter and green brick setting are not using any tool or handle due to their nature of work.

Piece work for all work sections is used as production incentive for all work sections. This could be an attribute of high production target set by the organization. The results shows that there is insufficient work breaks for green brick setting, green brick packing and brick dispatch. This might because of work pressure to meet set production targets and also pressure to earn production incentives. A study by Ndivhudzannyi (2003) the daily targets encourages the missing of breaks. Sufficient work breaks at the mixer controller this could be due to the type of machine which is automated that can allow the employees to take a break. According to Basra and Crawford (1995) piece work system arise from high production needs by the employer.

The results shows that respondents from the task from mixer controller are not externally paced this might be due to the reason that they are the ones who control the brick production machine. It is also evidence that respondents from brick cutter, brick setter, brick packing and final brick dispatch are having tasks that are externally paced this could be due to production targets and the procedure which does not allow the machine to be stopped so as to meet the set targets. Brick sorters mainly experience excessive work encouraging then to adopt high working pace than necessary (Ndivhudzannyi, 2003). This is supported by Putz-Anderson (1988) who reported that ergonomic problems can be caused by production demand and fault work methods.

5.2 Ergonomic hazard awareness

The results show that the majority of the employees were not aware of the ergonomic hazards. This could be due to little or no knowledge on safety and health issues. Low level of ergonomics awareness could be due to the fact that the employees did not receive any training on ergonomics during the induction period. This is agreed in a study by Shameem et al. (2001); Malaysian industrial workers experienced less work freedom because most of them were not educated and were not aware of the safe work environmental standards. This agrees with Koradecka (2001) who stated highlighted that about one billion employees work without receiving ergonomics awareness.

13.2% of the respondents were aware of awkward postures. This could be due to the nature of their jobs which make them deviate from the neutral posture most working hours of the day. 10.4% of the identified repetitive work. This could be due to their work tasks that have small work circle which require to be done continuously. Some of the respondents identified work stressors this could be due to piece work they are exposed to when working. 8% of the respondents identified forceful work as hazards associated with their work tasks. This might be due to muscle pains they experience. In a study by Mukwazhe and Gwisai (2016) it was highlighted that hazards are identified because of manual tasks that are conducted daily.

CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

6.1 Conclusions

From the study findings it is concluded employees from Beta Bricks commonly experience ergonomic hazards such repetition, awkward postures, forceful motions, stationary working positions, vibration, work stress. The ergonomic hazards experienced vary with work station and this can be attributed to poor work design, work cycle time, duration of task, production pressure, poor equipment. The findings show that majority of employees lack ergonomic hazards awareness.

6.2 Recommendations

From the study results it can be recommended that there is need to use engineering controls by redesign the workplace, tools and equipment. The company should also use administrative controls through the use of preventive programs and conducting of trainings on ergonomic so that employees will be aware of ergonomic hazards and ergonomic hazards control measures for example training on lifting techniques. This will help to minimize the ergonomic risk factors in the workplace and this may improve health of the employees and improve productivity.

The study revealed that the majority employees are not aware of the ergonomic hazards associated with their work tasks. The researcher therefore recommends awareness training to be conducted at all levels so as to increase employees’ knowledge on ergonomic hazards.

The organization should also encourage job rotation so that workers will have enough time to rest and this will help exposure time to the ergonomic hazards.

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Appendixes

Appendix 1 Sample Inspection Checklist form

INSPECTION CHECKLIST FOR ERGONOMIC RISK FACTORS

Date: …. Time: ….. CHECKLIST NUMBER: ….

Job title: Task: …..

Task description: ..

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Inspection checklist was adapted from: NIOSH “Elements of Ergonomics Program,” www.cdc.gov/niosh/eptbtr5a.html, and “Working Without Pain Train the Trainer Program,” Hunter College Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.

Appendix 2: Sample Questionnaire:

QUESTIONNAIRE

TOPIC: AN ASSESSMENT OF ERGONOMIC HAZARDS IN BRICK MAKING INDUSTRY. CASE STUDY XY BRICKS

My name is Leon Kandoko, a student from Bindura University of Science Education. I am currently studying towards degree of Bachelor of Environmental Sciences honours in Safety, Health and Environmental Management. I am carrying out study to identify of ergonomic hazards in brick making industry (XY Bricks). I am therefore requesting your assistance to participate in this survey as you associated with the work on a daily basis. I assure you of utmost confidentiality and a pledge that all the information gathered will be strictly used for academic purposes.

May you please tick and or where appropriate

QUESTIONNAIRE No…...

Date /. /

1. What is your occupation?
2. In which year did you start working in brick making industry?
3. Do you perform tasks that are externally paced? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NO Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
4. Do you require exerting force with your hands (gripping, pulling, and pinching)? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NO Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
5. Do you use hand tools or handle parts or objects? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NO Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
6. Do you stand continuously for more than 30 minutes? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NO Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
7. Do you sit for period of more than 30 minutes, without the opportunity to stand or move around freely? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NOAbbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
8. Do you kneel when working (one or both knees)? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NO Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
9. Do perform activities with hand raised above shoulder heights? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NOAbbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
10. Do you perform work while bending or twisting at the wrist? YESAbbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NOAbbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
11. Do you worker lift or lower objects between floor and waist height or shoulder?
YESAbbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NOAbbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
12. Do you lift or lower objects more than once per minute for continuous period of more tha15 minutes? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NO Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
13. Do you lift, lower or carry large objects that cannot be held close to the body?
YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NO Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
14. Do you loft lower or carry objects weighing more than 22.6kgs? YES Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten NO Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
15. Do you know what ergonomic hazards are? YES NO
16. If the answer in [4] is yes, state the ergonomic hazards associated with your operations…...…..
17. What measures did you put in place to reduce ergonomic hazards please specify below?
18. Do you follow any safety, health and environmental standards? YES NO
19. Any other comments/recommendations

Thank you for taking time to assist in this survey

Appendix 3: Common ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks from Checklist

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Exposed percentages(exposed %) represent percentage of employees who were exposed to a stated hazard.

Appendix 4: Common ergonomic hazards at XY Bricks from the Questionnaire

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Exposed percentages(exposed %) represent percentage of employees who were exposed to a stated hazard.

[1] Due to data protection reasons names have been changed by the editors.

[2] Due to data protection reasons this map has been deleted by the editors.

[3] Due to data protection reasons this chapter has been changed by the editors.

Details

Pages
40
Year
2017
ISBN (Book)
9783668740310
File size
719 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v423939
Institution / College
Bindura University of Science Education
Grade
2.1
Tags
ergonomic case zimbabwe

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Title: Ergonomic hazards on brick making industry. Case study of a brick company in Zimbabwe