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  1. 1. Ergonomics Assignment Submitted To: Mr. Joseph Reggy Mr. Abdul Salam Sait Submitted By: Amalesh Deka Rajeev Sharan Alok Lievens Semester-VII Dept. Of Fashion Technology NIFT-Bengaluru
  2. 2. Acknowledgement“I’m just an wanderer picking up pebbles on the beach, while the vast ocean ofknowledge lies before me, unexplored”- Albert Einstein.There are people who being what they are, inspire you to do things you neverthought yourself capable of doing. Among them is our Faculty MrJoseph Reggyand Mr. Abdul Salam Sait who guided us in our first tentative steps in the fieldof Ergonomics and related issues regarding Apparel Industry.We would like to mention the name of Ms. Rajni Jain, CC-DFT, NIFT-Bangalore all other faculty members of NIFT-Bangalore who have guided us invarious ways in our course of study at NIFT.We would also like to thank all our class mates and our friends, who despite oftheir own work, helped us in many ways.Amalesh DekaRajeev SharanAlok Lievens 2|PageErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  3. 3. IntroductionToday most of us spend our working days carrying out repetitive activities in awkwardpostures. At first we will not be aware of this because it feels comfortable. If we do not sitproperly, take regular breaks and also use correctly positioned furniture and equipment, webecome vulnerable to pain and discomfort. Injuries and muscle pain affecting the wrists,shoulders, neck and back are common problems for workers in the garment industry. Theseconditions are usually related to overuse and can become unbearable, if left untreated. Evenstress, which causes muscles to tense, can be a contributing factor as can adverse workingenvironments, such as those are too hot or too cold, inadequate illumination, poor air qualityand noise level, need attention.Features in garment industry that could be improved to prevent injuries include;communication, involvement of employees in decision making, education and training ofemployees and management on prevention strategies, and the ergonomic conditions at theplant.The clothing industry is generally seen as a safe place to work, and when compared to otherindustries, there are relatively few serious accidents in clothing plants. The hazards we faceare different. The major health risks in this industry do not arise from immediate, potentiallyfatal hazards. Instead, the risks that clothing workers face come from more subtle hazardswhose effect accumulates over time. Sewing machine operators face a substantially higherrisk of muscle pain and injury than workers in other jobs. Studies also show that frequency ofpersistent neck and shoulder injuries increases with years of employment. Sewing machineoperators experience as many cases of repetitive strain injuries as data entryoperators and secretaries combined. These injuries lead to longterm health effects.The physical characteristics of the job are an important risk factor for muscle pain and injury.The risks for sewing machine operators have been linked to conditions such as poorworkstation design and chairs, and organizational factors such as the piecework system.Factors such as repetition, force, posture and vibration are associated with higher rates ofinjury. But you can’t look at the workstation alone to understand these injuries. There isgrowing evidence that other factors are linked to injuries, some of these factors include highwork pace, lack of control over the job, excessive workload, lack of co-worker support andgeneral work environment. The factors that relate to reduced injury rates includeempowerment of the workforce, safety protocols, greater seniority of the workforce, goodhousekeeping and active role of top management. 3|PageErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  4. 4. Ergonomics and Garment IndustryErgonomics is a topic that affects us all; yet few of us have a good understanding of what theterm actually means or realize how it affects us.Ergonomics is a science that focuses on designing a job for the worker. Ergonomically-designed job would ensure that a taller worker had enough space to safely perform his or herjob, and also that a shorter worker could reach all of his or her tools and products withoutreaching beyond a comfortable and safe range.The opposite of this, and what typically happens in the workplace, is that a worker is forcedto work within the confines of the job or workstation that is already existed. This may requireemployees to work in awkward postures, perform the same motion over and over again or liftheavy loads – all of which could cause work-related musculoskeletal disorders. These injuriesoften start as minor aches and pains but can develop into disabling injuries that affect ouractivities of daily living such as laundry, hobbies (playing field games, trucking, etc.) andeven the ability to pick up our children. Ergonomics aims at preventing injuries bycontrolling the risk factors such as force, repetition, posture and vibration that can causeinjuries to develop 4|PageErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  5. 5. STITCHING Stitching involves taking cut material, placing it on the sewing mount, then running it through a sewing machine. This operation may require pinch grips and awkward arm, neck, and trunk postures. Force may also be required to push fabric through the machine. Some of the common risks and possible solutions associated with stitching are listed below. 1. Moving Material to/from Workstation 2. Setting Up Material 3. Manipulating Material 4. Stitching MaterialMOVING MATERIAL TO/FROM WORKSTATIONPotential Hazard: Workers reach overhead (Figs. 1 & 2), to the side (Fig. 3), behind, or down into tubs to pick up or place fabric. This action can cause stress on the arms, neck, shoulders, and back. Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Reaching overhead to Reaching overhead to Reaching to the side to pick up fabric can place fabric. place fabric. cause stress on the arms, neck, and shoulders. Workers bend/twist to pick up fabric (Fig. 4), which can hurt a workers back and shoulders. 5|PageErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  6. 6. Possible Solutions:  Minimize overhead reach by: Fig. 4 Lowering the rack (Fig. 4); or Lowering the Placing station on platform clothing rack or using height-adjustable can minimize portable clothing racks or overhead reach. tables.  Minimize reaches to the side or Fig. 5 behind associated with picking up Minimize reach new product or placing completed fabric by: by placing material closer placing fabric/bins closer to to the worker. the worker (Fig. 5); placing fabric/bins at table height; using height-adjustable fabric containers; adding an extension to work table; or using an automated or conveyor system that transports the fabric directly to and from the worker.  Use swivel chairs (Fig. 6), which allow workers to turn to get bundles Fig. 6 and pieces, rather than twisting to Swivel chairs reach to the side or behind. Swiveling can also make it easier allow workers to for workers to sit down and get up maintain good from the workstation. back posture. 6|PageErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  7. 7. SETTING UP MATERIALPotential Hazard:When setting up material for stitching, workers may have to flex or bend their necks to viewthe position of the fabric.Possible Solutions:  Use automatic feeding and set up, which eliminates the operator using awkward postures.  Provide proper lighting:  Use adjustable task lighting to make it easier for the worker to see product during set up (Fig. 7).  Ensure bulbs are replaced Fig. 7 frequently so they are functional at Adjustable task lighting. all times.  Provide properly positioned general overhead lighting.MANIPULATING MATERIALPotential Hazard:  While manipulating fabric, employees repeatedly use a forceful pinch grip (Fig. 8) between the thumb and index finger. Fig. 8 Pinch grip. 7|PageErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  8. 8. Possible Solutions:  Use friction-increasing aids (Fig. 9) on fingers to reduce amount of force exerted in the pinch grip.  Analyze tasks to determine force requirement and use job/task rotation through tasks not requiring pinch grip. Fig. 9 Friction-increasing aid.STITCHING MATERIALPotential Hazard:  Employees push fabric through the sewing machine, which may require extending arms, bending at the waist, and applying force (Fig. 10). Fig. 10 Awkward posturePossible Solutions: causing ergonomic  Use height adjustable tables (Fig. 11), which, when properly adjusted, may reduce arm extension and bending at the waist.  Allow the machine to pull the fabric through rather than having the operator push the fabric.  Reduce the distance between the operator and the machine Fig. 11 Height-adjustable table 8|PageErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  9. 9. COMMON PROBLEMS IN A SEWING WORKSTATION:The dimensions of the sewing table that should be considered are the: Height Shape Tilt Leg Room ChairsHeight.Sewing tables are not easily adjustable.For a operator with short height, it create elevated shoulder postures and non-neutral elbowand wrist postures.For a operator with long height , it cause the operator to lean forward and flex his or her neck.Leg room.Sewing machine operators have limited legroom because of drawers and/or trash chutesattached to the underside of the table.Table angle.The tilt improves visibility of the task and helps to keep the neck in a more upright positionwhile having the table at an appropriate height for the upper extremity.ChairsThe chair is a critical piece of equipment for sewing machine operators who work in a seatedposition. It can have a very large impact on the comfort of the worker and can affect the riskof muscle pain and injury. 9|PageErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  10. 10. Sewing Workstation Design:The following key areas should be modified to make the sewing m/c ergonomically designed: Chair and posture Treadle and leg room Correct height of table Arm support Visibility and tilt-adjustable tables Lighting and surroundingsChair and postureSwivel chairs for workstation is needed. These chairs are adjustable in height, seat tilt, andbackrest position and their backrest is padded. They facilitate the necessary work and supportthe worker’s spine.One must bear in mind the size of the worker when determining the height of the chair andtheposition of the treadle. The height of the chair and position of the treadle must permit theworker to occupy the seat with a straight sitting posture.The worker’s foot should be able to easily operate the treadle. The angle of the knee shouldbe slightly greater than 90 degrees and the thighs should be horizontal.When sewing, one should not remain permanently in a certain position but rather bedynamic.This means to change sitting positions occasionally from front to centre of the seat and tolean back to relax.Treadle and leg roomMany sewing tables have a moveable treadle fixed on a traverse. Using screws the treadle canbe mounted to the front or rear. Even with a medium sized worker, it may be necessary tomove the traverse to the far edge of the table in order to permit the worker to have acomfortable leg position. Sufficient space under the table allows the worker to move theirfeet to an optimal position and thereby avoid excessive bending of the upper body. Hence,components such as the motor, operating devices or drawers should not be installed under thetable top because they project into the leg area.The height of many sewing tables is adjustable by turning a screw. However, a table framewith electronic infinite adjustment of the height is more comfortable. The height of the tableshould allow the worker to sit in a comfortable upright position. If the table is too low,workers will have to hunch forward, putting strain on the back, neck and shoulders. If thetable is too high, workers will have to raise their shoulders to get their arms high enough towork. This posture puts strain on the neck, shoulder and arms. Therefore, the fitting of the 10 | P a g eErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  11. 11. table base and thus the working height of the table top should be fixed so that the worker cansit in an upright position and can reach and see all work areas,especially the sewing needle.If the height of the table is too low and not adjustable, an increase of height by simple meansis also possibleArm supportDuring sewing, the upper arms should loosely hang at a forward angle plus, depending moreor less on the sewing task, the shoulders should be braced (without force).The worker should be able to comfortably rest their forearms without pressure on a largeworking area (with well-rounded table edges).Newly developed, ergonomically designed sewing tables have adjustable arm supports whereyou can rest your forearm. This may be particularly useful for long and uniform sewing tasksand by high volume.Visibility and tilt-adjustable tablesWhen viewing of the sewing area is restricted by the head of the sewing machine, it can causeawkward and excessive stooping.New sewing tables can often be tilted to improve thevisibility of the work area.To obtain a slight tilt to your existing table, we can install a wedge between the table top andthe base. We should take into account the viewing distance between the head and the needle(for small pieces and fine work approx. 30 cm and with larger pieces about 30 cm to 50 cm)in order to obtain the best possible sewing position. The head should be inclined forward atamax. 25°.Lighting and surroundingsWhen setting up the sewing machine, the direction of view should be parallel to the front ofthe window and the ceiling light strips. The ambient lighting should provide sufficientbrightness in the work area (e. g. Ceiling lighting, 500 lux). Additional lighting or lighting onthe workplace should be arranged in order to avoid high contrasts (differences in brightness). The task lights should have a “goose-neck” so the light can be directed to the work area.Lampshades should have ventilation holes, but where necessary these can be covered so thatthe light is not directed through these holes towards the operator. 11 | P a g eErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  12. 12. ChairThe operator’s chair must have comfortable padded seat, a back rest, adjustable height, seatsslightly sloping towards the front etc.Other Considerations:Knee SwitchesPlace the knee switch so that it rests very close to the leg, just above the knee, and is wellpadded.Hand ControlsEnsure controls are located in a convenient position without being in the way.Controls should be activated with a light touch applied at multiple angles.Repetitive strain Reduction:Work should be organized such that operators get up from their workstation to pick up theirnext work order.Repetitive strain can be reduced when operators assemble large parts or full garments. Thisdecreases repetition and increases variability and skill. Set reasonable limits for bundle sizes.Psychological Factors:Work-related stress is not an illness but it can lead to increased problems with ill health. If itis prolonged or particularly intense it can lead to physical effects (such as heart disease andgastrointestinal disturbances leading to ulcers) and psychological effects (such as anxiety anddepression). Work-related stressors include:• Lack of communication and consultation between management and workers• A culture of blame when things go wrong and denial of potential problems• Excessively long working hours;• Boring or repetitive work• Poor relationship with management and fellow workers• Bullying or sexual harassmentThere are a number of solutions that management can introduce to deal with these Stressors,including: Set up communication channels for workers to talk to management without prejudice Provide regular training and up-gradation programs to operators. Allocate tasks according to workers skills, training and experience. Improve methods of doing work. Introduce ways to relieve stress such as: - Play light music on the floor - Make cool drinking water available for workers. Introduce motivation tools. Train supervisors and managers in ways and tools for creating a healthy and comfortable work environment 12 | P a g eErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry
  13. 13. Annexure Importance and need of ergonomics in the apparel industry By K. Saravanan , Senior Lecturer, Department of Textile Technology, Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore. Ergonomic Handbook for the Clothing Industry , Published by the Union of Needle trades, Industrial and Textile Employees, the Institute for Work & Health, and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Inc. Pg. 24-42 13 | P a g eErgonomical Workplace Design for Apparel Industry