International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics (6 papers in press)
Musculoskeletal Disorders and Ergonomic Risk Factors in Foundry Workers
by Asif Qureshi, Krishnan Manivannan, Vivek Khanzode, Sourabh Kulkarni
Abstract: The present study aims to identify activity-specific risk factors associated with Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) among workers from small-scale foundries in western India. The modified Nordic questionnaire is adopted to explore the prevalence of MSDs and associated critical ergonomic risk factors among 181 male foundry workers. Further, Logistic regression is applied to explore critical factors causing MSDs in a foundry context.
This study investigates Manual Materials Handling (MMH) effect on MSDs prevalence and highlights Load-handled as the most critical risk factor. In the process, the study emphasizes lower back, neck and knee as the vulnerable body parts. Additionally, it was investigated that workers from melting sections of the foundries are prone to MSDs risks that require immediate intervention. A worksystem model was used to frame the study and interpreted the results in the context of human-machine interaction occurring at the workspace. The results can be further coupled with engineering interventions for improved productivity in the foundry.
Keywords: Worksystem model; Musculoskeletal Disorders; Industrial Ergonomics; Task Analysis; Foundry; Manual Material Handling (MMH); Nordic questionnaire; logistic regression.
Ergonomic design and evaluation of masons trowels for construction work
by Iman Dianat, Nabiollah Bakhtiari, Moein Nedaei, Davood Afshari
Abstract: This study investigated the effects of five re-designed masons trowels (with handles with variable cross-section that provided different patterns of grip) and hand anthropometry on muscle activity, usability and affordance in a working context, and the results were compared with that of the traditional design with longitudinal round cross-sectional handle. The results showed some improvements in terms of usability and affordance with the second prototype design. Usability was also improved with the first prototype trowel design, although it required higher electromyographic activity levels compared to some other designs. Hand anthropometric measures had no effect on the studied measures. The results suggest that although improving performance and usability may not necessarily be compatible objectives, the idea of cylindrical tool handles with variable cross-section can be employed advantageously to improve the tools usability. The findings may also rule out the possibility that users hand anthropometry is always necessary for the design of tool handle. Rather, hand tool designers and manufacturers should pay special attention to the working context and quality of handhandle interaction to improve the design and usability of hand tools.
Keywords: hand tools; hand tool design; electromyography; EMG; usability.
Human Factor Analysis for Railway Coach and Bogie Maintenance using Principal Component Analysis and Factor Analysis
by Sanghamitra Poddar, Subhash C. Panja, Sankar Narayan Patra, Malay Gangopadhyaya
Abstract: One of the major challenges of railway transportation is to maintain the coach and bogie system for ensuring safety of passengers and goods, and maintain punctuality. The main issue, in this regard, is same maintenance facility is used by different kinds of trains, like superfast express trains to slow speed freight trains, requiring various workman skills of maintenance personnel. Sometimes, it is seen that the maintenance section in railways is not recognized properly. In this context, there is a need to study the maintenance activities as well as humans involved in it. The present work aims to identify and analyze human factors responsible for coach and bogie maintenance of railway system. Thirty six human factors were identified to observe their importance on the maintenance service. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Factor Analysis (FA) are used here. Three principal components were identified which represents 99% of the variance in the whole dataset. Factor analysis is performed on these three principal components to find most important factors based on individual factor loadings. Human machine interface, working environment, shift patterns, safety cultures, leadership, time pressure, situational awareness, perception, interpretation and training procedure were found to be few very important human factors among 36 factors under consideration.
Keywords: Coach and Bogie system; Human Factors; Maintenance; Principal Component Analysis; Factor Analysis.
Factors Influencing Employees Intention to Apply Ergonomics at Workplaces: A Cultural Perspective
by Noora Al-Qahtani, Karim Al-Yafi, Khaled Al-Share
Abstract: We examine the determinants of employees intention to apply ergonomics at workplace and the moderating effects of Hofstedes Cultural dimensions on the proposed research model. A research model, based on the decomposed theory of planned behavior (DTPB), the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology model (UTAUT), and Hofstedes Cultural dimensions, is developed and quantitatively tested. The antecedent variables considered are attitude, social influence, perceived behavioral control, self-efficacy, facilitation conditions, performance expectancy, effort expectancy, compatibility and management support. The results show that attitude, perceived behavioral control, and social influence have significant positive effects on employees behavioral intention to apply ergonomics at the workplace. Compatibility and performance expectancy have significant positive indirect effects on behavioral intention through attitude. Additionally, facilitation conditions and self-efficacy have significant positive indirect effects on behavioral intention through perceived behavioral control. Hofstedes Cultural dimensions significantly moderate the hypothesized relationships.
Keywords: Ergonomics; UTAUT; theory of planned behavior; Hofstede’s cultural dimensions; Qatar; quantitative research; multiple regression analysis.
The efficacy of rooibos Aspalathus linearis as an ergogenic aid during exercise
by Simeon Davies, Jeanine Marnewick, Sacha West, Sharhidd Taliep, Fanie Rautenbach, Raeeq Gamieldien
Abstract: This study investigated whether rooibos herbal tea Aspalathus linearis has an ergogenic effect during a fatiguing arm strength test to exhaustion. Thirty-two male participants were randomized in a single blinded, cross-over placebo controlled study in which they ingested standardized rooibos or placebo capsules for four weeks prior to a fatiguing elbow flexion/extension exercise test entailing 5 sets/bouts of 15 repetitions of maximum voluntary contractions separated by 10-second rest intervals on a Biodex System 3 at a speed of 60
Keywords: rooibos; antioxidant; exercise; ergogenic supplement.
The Effect of Human-Robot Interaction on Trust, Situational Awareness, and Performance in Drone Clearing Operations
by Thomas Schnieders, Zhonglun Wang, Richard Stone, Gary Backous, Erik Danford-Klein
Abstract: With advances in microcomputers, microprocessors, and battery form factor, small drones are seeing a growing trend of deployment. Building clearing operations, especially in active shooter scenarios, can be high risk when officers need to clear a building on their own. This study analyzed the use of a small drone in a building clearing operation with a county sheriffs department to help mitigate the danger of single officer clearing operations. Aspects of trust (human-robotic trust survey), situational awareness (SART), mental demand (NASA-TLX), and performance (completion time and target miss rate) were measured. Fourteen officers, age 22-63 with an average of 5.4 years law enforcement experience and 3 years of building sweeping experience participated in the study. The results of the study indicate that the use of a single drone during clearing operation can slow down the operation, but accuracy and safety of clearing is enhanced. The use of the drone saw non-significant changes in mental workload other than temporal demand; increased situational awareness; a decrease in the number of targets missed; and a moderate level of trust.
Keywords: Drone; unmanned aerial vehicles; clearing operations; levels of trust; situational awareness; mental demand; human-robotic interaction.