Alleviation: An International Journal of Nutrition, Gender & Social Development, ISSN 2348-9340 Volume 5, Number 5 (2018):
© Arya PG College, Panipat & Business Press India Publication, Delhi

Role of Ergonomics in Clothing and Textile Industry: A Review

1. Monika Upreti*,2. Sonia Tewari & 3. Deepti Kothari
1. Assistant Professor, Department of Home Science and Food Technology Surajmal Agarwal Private Kanya Mahavidhyalay, Kichha, Uttarakhand, India
2. PhD Research Scholar, Department of Family Resource Management College of Home Science
3. PhD Research Scholar Department of Agricultural Extension & Communication College of Agriculture GBPUAT, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, India


In India, after all the clothing and textile-based manufacturing firms, involve multiple operations such as stitching task, trimming, cutting, ironing, washing, garment assembling and many more. Workers faced many problems due to awkward postures adopted by them while performing these activities and causes Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs), which includes musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, shoulders and upper limbs due to the repetition of movements in inappropriate working environment and poorly organized workstation (Patil et al 2015). According to Mehta (2012), in garment factory, the worker faces injuries related to the head, musculoskeletal pains, eye strain etc and also reported that the cutting department workers are more prone to accidents than the other workers working in stitching and finishing department. Balasundaram et al (2017) reported that ergonomically design workstations, tools and task help the worker to reduce the occupational health hazards and also increase the productivity of workers. So, it is necessary to eliminate these undesirable movements through ergonomically designed workstations which ultimately lead to improve the work place and worker’s life.
What is Ergonomics????
The International Ergonomics Association defines “Ergonomics (human factors) as the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among human-beings and other elements of a system and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance” (Karwowski 2012). The word ergonomics is derived from two Greek words ergos means work and nomos means law. This word was first introduced during IInd World War, by British scientists who were concerned with the efficient use of complex military equipment (Dubey 2014). As we know that ergonomics is multidisciplinary area of study and can be defined simply as the study of work. In ergonomics, the job is mainly focused on how best it fits to the worker, rather than forcing his body to fit the job. Adapting tasks, workstations, tools and equipments to fit the worker can help to reduce physical stress on worker's body leading to reduction in musculoskeletal disorders.
Generally, the clothing and textile industry is considered as a safest place to work as compared to other industries. The major health risks in this industry do not arise immediately into serious hazards, whereas the worker faces normal hazards but these hazards become more serious over period of time (Muhundhan 2013 and Polat et al 2016). The clothing industry comprises many operations such as stitching, trimming, cutting, ironing, washing, garment assembling and many more. Due to repetitive movements in these operations, the worker faces higher risk of muscle pain, neck, shoulder injury and other injuries. The main aim of ergonomics is to provide the safest environment to the worker that reduces the occupational health hazards. Dillard et al (1997) found the positive results in terms of increased productivity and quality of the product, decreased compensation cost of worker and improved employee morale if the manufacturer invests more in ergonomically designed equipments.
Ergonomic Risk Factors
There are many factors of poor ergonomic designed workstations, which may be responsible for acute and chronic injuries. The acute injuries start as minor aches and pains but over time period, these injuries can develop into more serious injuries, sometimes responsible for disability also. These risk factors are given below (Kolgiri 2016):
Mechanical Factors
Repetitive movements, bad postures, temperature extremes, muscles load, vibration etc.
Psychosocial and Physical Factors
Social relationship, lighting, noise, psychological factors etc.
Organizational Factors
Monotonous jobs, excessive work load etc.
Individual Risk Factors

Principles of Ergonomics
The main aim to design the workstation ergonomically is to prevent injuries by limiting the repetitive and undesirable movements. There are some fundamental ergonomic principles that should be followed at our workplaces (Gunning et al 2001 and Saravanan 2011)

Use Proper Tools
For every specific task being performed, there should be an appropriate tool which allows an individual to align their hands and wrists straight. One must practice the habit of bending tools rather than the wrist. The tool should be designed to fit into the hand comfortably. Inappropriate grip size will increase the risk of injury. Designing tools should be free from sharp edges, and should prevent from contact stresses like vibrations in hands.
Avoid Bad Postures
Job should be designed in a way that, it should avoid working with hands above shoulder height on a regular basis. Arms should be kept low and close to your body. Too much of bending and twisting of wrists, back and neck should also be avoided.
Minimize the Repetitive Movements
The number of repetitive motions should be minimized by workstations or tasks redesigning. Use of Power-driven screw driver or tools with a ratchet device helps in reducing the twisting motions with the arm. Repetitive movements and musculoskeletal injuries should be eliminated by automation and redesigning of some tasks.
Use Safe Lifting Procedures
Avoid lifting of too heavy objects. To reduce the load, use a mechanical device. Workstation should also be designed by reducing or avoiding the overhead lifting of objects which minimize the back twisting while lifting. Try to keep the load close to your body and ensures good grip. Heavy and frequently lifted objects should be stored between knee and shoulder height not on the ground or above your head.
Take Proper Rest
Try to give rest to your muscles, legs and feet, if you are standing all day while performing the job and if you have sitting job profile, then stand up or walk around during your breaks to give your back a rest and to enhance circulation in legs.
Workers working in the garment industry have to perform various tasks that require awkward postures and repetitive bending and twisting of various body parts that may lead to several health issues. So, there is a need to redesign the workplace and workstation of these garment industry and also there is a need to generate awareness regarding the postures to be adopted to avoid unnecessary pressure and pain in different body parts associated with specific task which will help in workplace well-being of the workers and helps in increasing productivity of the firms.
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