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- Volume 18, Issue 1, 2006
Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Volume 18, Issue 1, 2006
Volume 18, Issue 1, 2006
Author P.A. ScottSource: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 18 (2006)More Less
This issue includes an interesting mix of research of heavy manual labour on the one hand, and sedentary work relating to the use of computers, on the other. The stark dichotomy, typical of industrially developing countries, is exemplified in this collection of papers, from South Africa and India . The first four papers cover work done in the mining, agricultural and building supplies industries, with the last two looking into the world of office work and banking.
Development and testing of a screening tool for mine workers with possible hand arm vibration syndrome : research articleSource: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 18, pp 2 –13 (2006)More Less
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a collective term for the symptoms arising from the prolonged use of vibrating hand tools. An investigation into the literature on available screening tools for HAVS was conducted. A screening tool is used for the quick identification of certain symptoms without a full medical check-up, and is for use by mine medical personnel for the determination of workers with HAVS symptoms and those without. Twenty-two non-exposed volunteers were tested with the screening tools and 42 rock drill operators. Only the rock drill operators had a medical examination and standardised tests for HAVS, to determine their HAVS diagnosis and severity. This diagnosis was used as the standard for the evaluation of existing screening tools and for the developed screening tool's sensitivity for the detection of HAVS symptoms. The screening tools chosen were a traditional tuning fork, a similar tuning fork but mounted into a box with a set excitation unit and a two-point discriminator set a 3mm, 6mm, and 10mm apart. The results showed that a screening questionnaire that specifically focuses on the symptoms of HAVS has better sensitivity and specificity to identify cases. A two-point discriminator with variable distance points, where patients have to distinguish between one pin prick and two, was able to identify HAVS cases when the distance was set at 3 mm. However, the sensitivity of the two-point discriminator was lower than the sensitivity of the questionnaire.
The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among pre-adolescent agricultural workers of West Bengal, India : research articleSource: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 18, pp 14 –21 (2006)More Less
In India, particularly in West Bengal, pre-adolescents are primarily associated with agricultural works in rural areas mostly due to their socio-economic disadvantage. They are compelled to carry out a considerable amount of manual, rigorous tasks in the agricultural field. For this they have to adopt some undesirable postures that may lead to musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) in the near future. The main aim of the present investigation was to assess the prevalence of MSD among the pre-adolescent agricultural workers (both male and female) of West Bengal. For this study three groups of subjects, an experimental group engaged in hand intensive jobs, control group-I performing lesser amount of hand intensive job and control group-II pursuing only education were selected. A modified Nordic questionnaire was used for all groups. It is evident from this study that these very young agricultural workers who are required to constantly bend and twists during work will experience transient fatigue, pain and eventually MSDs.
Source: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 18, pp 22 –27 (2006)More Less
Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) is a globally accepted tool to test ventilatory capacity and for diagnosis, management and follow up of respiratory diseases. The brick-field industry is an important industrial area throughout the world, but there is a lack of ergonomic input in industrially developing regions. Examination of health and hygiene among the brick-field workers is often neglected although it is a prime industry to improve efficiency and productivity. The present investigation was aimed to: (i) evaluate and compare the PEFR values of female workers engaged brick building jobs, and (ii) to develop prediction norms for PEFR in this population. PEFR was measured by Peak Flow Meter in 93 healthy non-smoking female brick-field workers of West Bengal, India. The age range of 20-39 years was subdivided into 20-29 years and 30-39 years. They were further categorized depending on the nature of job performed. Statistical treatment of data by ANOVA, correlation and regression analysis revealed no significant variation in PEFR in different types of job performers, except in the case of "puddlers" of the older age groups. Comparison of data revealed that PEFR is higher than other sedentary female populations of different regions of India and well comparable with other overseas reports. Physical parameters exhibited significant correlation with PEFR and the derived multiple regression equation is recommended as a norm for prediction of PEFR among the female Indian brick-field workers, whereas simple regression equations may be used whenever necessary.
Source: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 18, pp 28 –32 (2006)More Less
A Survey of thresher accidents was conducted in the Latur District of Maharashtra, India. For this purpose a questionnaire was prepared. There are six Tahsile in Latur district. At least 10 thresher operators were selected randomly from each tahsil. The surveyor completed the questionnaire after sufficient inquiry with the operators concerned. It was revealed that young adult males were those most involved in the threshing operation. The study indicates several causes of accidents, among them time of operation, improper illumination at the work-site and fatigue. Other factors included height of the thresher chute above ground level, and the method of operation. The study revealed that ergonomic principles must be incorporated in the design of thresher operator systems to ensure safe and efficient operation.
Analysis of computer operator responses to personalised adjustments made to standard computer workstations : research articleSource: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 18, pp 33 –56 (2006)More Less
Computer operators are often required to maintain static working postures at computer workstations which have been assembled in order to accommodate the morphologies of a maximum number of operators, and these workstations generally have a limited degree of adjustability. The present study sought to investigate the effects of a Standard workstation, designed for "average" users, on an anthropometrically diverse sample of computer operators, and to assess whether physical and perceptual responses, as well as performance efficiency were dependent on stature. Further investigation assessed the influence of personalised adjustments to the Standard workstation, based on the anthropometric characteristics of the subjects, as well as the introduction of a custom-designed 'floating' wrist support, on subject responses. All subjects (n=30) were tested in each of the three workstations: Standard, Personalised and Wrist Support.
The responses elicited in the Personalised and Wrist Support workstations were improved significantly when compared to the Standard workstation. Joint angles were more natural, upper trapezius EMG was reduced, standard of performance improved and perceptual responses indicated a diminished incidence of body and visual discomfort, as well as greater perceived satisfaction with these workstation dimensions.
Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that sufficient adjustability be built into workstations so that it is possible to optimally personalise them for individual operators, thereby reducing the awkward postures adopted during this static type of work.
South African online banking usability : comparisons between niche and traditional banks : research articleSource: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 18, pp 57 –66 (2006)More Less
Online banking is one of the most utilised aspects of the Internet in South Africa. In an earlier unpublished survey we found that respondents from the smaller, niche banks held more positive attitudes towards the niche banks than respondents utilising the larger, traditional banks. In this study, we wished to investigate how the usability aspects of these two types of banks might contribute to the differences in attitudes we found in our earlier survey. A questionnaire was posted on a prominent South African portal. A total of 1690 usable questionnaires were completed during the three weeks that the survey was active. The results of this study showed that there were statistically significant differences in the perception of 10 usability dimensions between respondents from the niche and the traditional banks. In addition, there were also statistically significant differences in the perceptions towards online assistance between respondents using the two types of banking. These results are discussed in terms of the different approaches of the niche and traditional banks, and the usability recommendations that the traditional banks might wish to adopt for their online banking services and products.