International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics (3 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.