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- Volume 27, Issue 2, 2015
Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Volume 27, Issue 2, 2015
Volume 27, Issue 2, 2015
Source: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 27, pp 4 –17 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/esa.v27i2.2More Less
This article reports on a study conducted among virtual office employees (n=163) in South Africa. Interest in this topic was triggered by the influence of technological developments that have changed the traditional office scenario. The purpose of the study was to investigate the extent to which policies, regulations and legislation in terms of ergonomics and technologies are put into practice in order to ensure compliance. The absence of policies, regulations and legislation means that no information or training is available for teleworkers that could prevent health and wellness problems. An empirical study was conducted using two structured questionnaires, one for managers and one for employees. The main findings indicate that although a telework policy was in place, not all organisations had formal telework agreements with teleworkers. Arrangements with employees were of an informal nature and the application of policies and regulations was very low. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders may develop if the correct ergonomic principles are not applied. Organisations that allow flexible work arrangements must endeavour to adhere to the relevant Acts and government regulations to ensure that teleworkers work in a safe environment, protecting them from risk factors leading to health and wellness problems.
The influence of resistance training on the magnitude of change in the resting metabolic rate, program compliance and related obesogenic anthropometric parameters in obese and normal-weight female employeesSource: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 27, pp 18 –32 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/esa.v27i2.3More Less
Obesity is a global health concern affecting all walks of life, with alarming prevalence in South African employees. Various companies have already implemented health promotion programs in order to improve employee health; however research focusing on the effect of a resistance training intervention in order to address obesity among employees is scare. Therefore the aim of this study was to determine the influence of resistance training (RT) on the resting metabolic rate (RMR), body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), fat mass (FM), fat-free mass (FFM) and compliance in a group of obese and normal-weight female employees. Seventy-seven pre-menopausal women (25 - 35 years) were recruited and divided into an obese, (BMI ≥ 30) and normal-weight group (BMI ≤ 25.0). Both groups completed a supervised progressive RT program (3 sessions of 40 -50 minutes/week), spread across 12 weeks. Assessments were performed every 4 weeks and results were analysed using the Linear Mixed Model procedure. The normal-weight group (NWG) showed practically significant increases from baseline to 12-weeks in FFM (d = 0.83), RMR (d = 0.58) and exercise compliance (d = 0.58) while the obese group (OG) showed practically significant decreases in WC (d = 0.32) and BMI (d = 0.31). Considering the intra-group % change (baseline to 12-weeks) it is clear that the NWG showed significant increases in RMR (7.0%), FFM (7.8%) and exercise compliance (15.8%) while the OG showed a significant decrease in WC (3.0%) and exercise compliance (9.3%). It seems therefore that the magnitude of change resulting from resistance training (moderate intensity) in NWG differs from that of the OG.
Demographic, ergonomic and psychosocial factors affecting work related musculoskeletal discomforts in tobacco processingSource: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 27, pp 33 –49 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/esa.v27i2.4More Less
Work related musculoskeletal disorders have been associated with demographic factors, work stresses and psycho-social stress symptoms. The study aimed to evaluate factors associated with MSDs in different body regions among Indian tobacco processing workers. A group of 450 tobacco processing workers participated in the study. A questionnaire comprising of demographic factors, work related exposures, psycho-social stress and musculoskeletal discomforts was administered. Self-reported prevalence of MSDs, correlation statistics and risk estimates were calculated. Females reported a higher prevalence of discomfort in the upper back, lower back and knees. The ANOVA showed that female workers perceived the work environment and physical activity to be more strenuous compared to their male counterparts. Correlation analyses suggest the influence of different work related aspects on pain in different regions. Physically demanding task situations, high physical activity and poor task clarity were associated with MSDs in both female and male tobacco processing workers. In males, poor job feedback and badly illuminated workspaces, and in females highly specialized job and high skill levels required were associated with MSDs. Psychosocial stress symptoms of workers were found to be associated with pain in different body parts Strategies need to be formulated to improve adverse working conditions to reduce pain related problems and to improve performance in the tobacco processing work.
Author J.L. LuSource: Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa 27, pp 50 –63 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/esa.v27i2.5More Less
This study was conducted to assess the pesticide-related safety risks that Benguet farmers face on a regular basis. Pesticide residue in soil and crops, as well as farmers' knowledge and practices on pesticide were assessed. Methods consisted of survey questionnaire among 38 farmers, and the use of gas chromatography for the analysis of soil and crop samples. All farmers used more than one type of pesticide, most of whom used three types (73.7%). The most common was organophosphate (45.2%). Twelve of the identified pesticide brands were insecticides while the remaining two were fungicides. Twenty-three practiced cocktailing of pesticides (60.5%), mostly to save time. The most common PPE used while spraying pesticides were gas masks, gloves and boots. For the soil and crop samples, 3 soil samples were positive for Chlorpyrifos, two of which exceeded the maximum residue level (MRL). Of the 3 that were positive for Cypermethrin, all exceeded the MRL. Caution must be exercised when handling these potentially harmful pesticides. Proper equipment maintenance, cleaning and storage must be observed to prevent unnecessary pesticide exposure. Pesticide companies and the agricultural branches of the government must work towards adequate user education, focusing on safe handling of pesticides.