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An ergonomic study of women workers in a woolen textile factory for identification of health-related problems

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Author(s): Metgud D | Khatri Subhash | Mokashi M | Saha P

Journal: Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
ISSN 0973-2284

Volume: 12;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Ergonomics | health hazards | pain | posture | women workers | woolen industry

ABSTRACT
The observational cross-sectional study conducted on a sample of 100 women workers who volunteered, outlines their cardio-respiratory and musculo-skeletal profile before, during and at end of work. In addition, information on their health status in general was collected in advance. Contrary to expectation, there was no significant change in respiratory function. However, the musculo-skeletal problems were found to be abundantly present with pain in 91% of the subjects. Region-wise mapping of pain revealed that postural pain in low back was present in 47% while in neck was 19%. Scapular muscles on the right side were involved in stabilizing shoulder, which never went overhead. On the contrary, left shoulder was raised as high (>90 degrees) in spinning action, while pulling thread. This muscle work involved trapezius, deltoid and triceps action concentrically in lifting and while coming to starting position slowly, eccentrically. There was no pause since the wheel continued to spin the thread continuously, unless a worker opted to stop the work. Accordingly, left wrist and hand were in holding contraction while the right wrist and hand holding the handle were also in a fixed position with wrist in flexion with supinated forearm. Though the overall job was light as per peak HR, there was pain due to fatigue and grip strength weakened by around 10%, at the end of the day′s work. In conclusion, pain and fatigue were found to be the main problems for women in the spinning section of the small-scale industry under this study. Women have to take up dual responsibility of a full-time job as well as the domestic work. It was considered that ergonomic factors such as provision of a backrest and frequent rest periods could remediate the musculo-skeletal symptoms.
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