n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Evaluation of work related musculoskeletal disorder and postural stress among female potato cultivators in West Bengal, India




Apart from cereal production (rice, wheat, etc.) agricultural labourers are engaged in different vegetable cultivations in West Bengal, India, of which potato cultivation is one of the more important vegetable cultivations. Potato cultivation requires manual work and workers are exposed to extreme postural stresses. The present study was aimed at evaluating the musculoskeletal disorder and postural stress experienced by female workers engaged in potato cultivation. The study was conducted on 155 female cultivators in different districts of West Bengal state (India). A modified Nordic Questionnaire and Body Part Discomfort Scale were applied to identify musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in different body parts. The postural stress was analyzed by four methods, viz. OVAKO Working Postures Analysis System (OWAS), Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA), Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA), and Quick Exposure Check (QEC). From the results it was revealed that the prevalence of MSDs among the female workers was very high and the most affected areas were the back and upper extremities. Stooping and squatting postures were the dominating postures in potato cultivation jobs. Postural analysis indicated that during potato harvesting the workers were subjected to greater postural stress than that of other tasks. Postural stress might be the reason for the occurrence of MSDs. Thus, immediate ergonomic interventions are needed to reduce work stress of the women potato cultivators by correcting awkward postures.


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