METHODS: Although cross-sectional field visits were conducted in the current study, insight into past and present occupational safety and health concerns particularly regarding the ergonomics of oil palm plantations was further exploited. Besides discussion, video recordings were extensively used for ergonomics analysis.
RESULTS: The unique commodity of oil palm plantations presents significantly different ergonomics risk factors for fresh fruit bunch (FFB) cutters during different stages of harvesting. Although the ergonomics risk factors remain the same for FFB collectors, the intensity of manual lifting increases significantly with the age of the oil palm trees-weight of FFB.
CONCLUSIONS: There is urgent need to establish surveillance in order to determine the current prevalence of ergonomic injuries. Thereafter, ergonomics interventions that are holistic and comprehensive should be conducted and evaluated for their efficacy using approaches that are integrated, participatory and cost-effective.
ABBREVIATIONS: Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs); National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA); Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the effects of work improvement module using a Kiken Yochi participatory approach intervention in reducing MSS among male migrant pineapple farm plantation workers in Pontian, Johor.
METHODOLOGY: In this interventional study, a total of 68 male migrant workers from two plantation farms were invited to become a participant in this study. In total, 45 participants that consisted of 27 workers for the intervention group and 18 workers for the control group were recruited. The background of workers and MSS were assessed using questionnaires. Ergonomic and postural risks were evaluated and the work tasks with the highest risk were used as a basis for the development of the Kiken Yochi training module. MSS education and training intervention that provided information on proper lifting techniques and education on body mechanics and ergonomics to reduce MSS were implemented to both groups of workers. Kiken Yochi Training was given to the intervention group only. MSS were reassessed after 2 months of the follow-up period. Data was entered into statistical software and were analysed according to objectives.
RESULTS: In terms of the postural risk assessment, almost two-third of the participants (68.5%) had working postures categorized as high risk for MSS. Ergonomic risk assessment identified cultivation, manual weeding and harvesting of pineapples as the work tasks contributing the highest health risks to workers. The most commonly reported MSS between both groups of workers were at the knees, lower back and shoulder area. Upon completion of the delivery of intervention module to both groups of workers, the MSS prevalence reported (after 2 months) were significantly lower for the ankles and feet area within the intervention group.
CONCLUSION: This study suggested that development and implementation of programs using effective participatory approach training methods are able to prevent selected musculoskeletal problems for this occupation. To enhance the effects of such trainings, modifications of work tools in this occupation are desirable.
OBJECTIVE: Given the unpopularity of the current hard hat, the general perception of workers concerning its use and its measurements are the determining factors in the development of a new hard hat.
METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted in which 132 male oil palm harvesters between 19 and 60 years of age were selected from among the employees of the same oil palm harvesting company. A set of questionnaires was developed to collect their socio-demographic information as well as their perceptions of comfort and the prevalence of head injury. In addition, a set of measuring instruments, including Martin's anthropometry set, was used for head measurement and data collection in respect of the current hard hat. In this research, six respondents were randomly selected to attend an interview session for qualitative assessment.RESULTSBased on the questionnaires, the unpopularity in the use of the hard hat was largely influenced by factors related to poor design, in general, and, specifically, poor ventilation (64%), load (67% ), and physical discomfort (42% ). The measurements of the anthropometric parameters and the dimensions of the hard hat also showed a significant mismatch.
CONCLUSION: The unpopularity of the current hard hat among oil palm harvesters stemmed from the discomfort from wearing, which showed that the development of a new hard hat could lead to better usage and the greater likelihood of wearing a hard hat throughout the working day.