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Pre-mapping of potential risks in work place Environment and assessment of risk of low back Disorders with repeated lifting in Flour Mill workers in Mumbai

Author: 
Shivani Chowdhury Salian Modh
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: The flour mill workers work in a very unhygienic environment for 6-8 hours a day and perform a duty of loading and unloading a plastic bags or boxes or sacks of flour into the mill. The job demands a high intensity of physical strength. Material and Method: A sample 100 Flour mill workers at Thane and Chembur were surveyed for the potential risk for (work related musculoskeletal disorders) WRMD's and hazards of work environment using a Pre-Mapping assessment tool provided by EPM. Work related hazards were used to assess the qualitative risk of biomechanical overload of manual handling, pollutants and repetitive movements. Quantitative analysis of risk of work related musculoskeletal disorder was assessed using NIOSH Lifting Equation. Results: This research aimed to preliminarily assess the risk of biomechanical overload of activity in flour mill workers using the EPM pre-mapping tool. Flour Mill workers do work in extreme awkward postures at their workplace which makes them vulnerable to health hazards they have high risk of being inflicted with Low back injuries (Spine), either cumulative or acute in nature. SPSS version 14 was used to analyse the data. Frequency tables and percentile values were computed from the collected data. On Pre-mapping of priorities for biomechanical overload from EPM (Ergonomic of posture and movement) it was observed that 100 % of the workers were subjected to repetitive movements, continuous lifting of heavy objects, had issues with climatic conditions and pollutants. Also 100 % of the workers faced vibration at work place. 94 % of the workers exhibited a high level of risk with Biomechanical overload- load of manual transport. When assessed for biomechanical overload for spine and lower limb awkward posture, 50% and 47% of workers fell in the High and Very High level of risk factors respectively i.e., postures having a very harmful effect on musculoskeletal system for which corrective action should be done as soon as possible. Environmental factors like working in poor lighting, noisy environment and particulate (flour) pollutants did increase the risk of work related health disorders. NIOSH lifting equation showed High Measures of Lifting index in 69 mill workers indicating that flour mill workers work at High level of risk of acquiring low back problems-which may expose a significant proportion of the working population to risk of injury. A prompt action is needed to rectify their postures to prevent WRMDs. Conclusion: Pre-mapping of potential risks of WMSDs show that the workplace environment comprising poor lighting, vibrations, microclimatic conditions and pollutants (flour dust) affect the working conditions negatively. NIOSH equations denote high lifting indices making it evident that the Lifting index and the load lifted by the flour mill workers in the flour mills are the highest risk factors in the job demands of flour mill workers which could lead WMSD's. The results suggest that the tasks should be redesigned ergonomically to eliminate the risk factors that may cause low back injuries.

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