Article Summary: Ergonomics
Article: “The work practices and ergonomic problems experienced by garment workers in Ghana” by Efua Vandyck and Docea A.G. Fianu
Summary of the Article:
The article entitled “The work practices and ergonomic problems experienced by garment workers in Ghana” written by Vandyck & Fianu (2012) presented crucial information pertinent to potentials for developing musculoskeletal diseases of tailors and dressmakers working in various garment manufacturers in Ghana. The aim of the study was to determine the factors and stressors that apparently contribute to work-related injuries or chronic illnesses related to the tasks that were performed. Specifically, the authors focused on evaluating the features and attributes of work seats used and to determine whether some standards in designing work chairs for this particular endeavor are being followed to prevent work-related injuries which could stem from improper chair design.
The research methodology and design that was used included semi-structured interviews from participants coming from 100 garment manufacturers; in conjunction with observation of the work environment. A survey was also conducted to solicit needed information on phyisical discomfort directly related to the performance of their tasks. The authors have apparently presented and analyzed the results through the use of descriptive statistics that provided an understanding of the presence, level, and extensiveness of ergonomics hazards or stressors in the work setting.
The findings revealed that there were stressors in the work place pertaining to temperature of the environment, specifically hot temperature; the color of wall or ceiling; noise; lack of ventilation; and lighting; which were presented as Table 1. The design of the seats used in terms of height, width, and depth, were also disclosed to be contributory stressors as not all chair designs conformed to the required standards. Concurrently, other work-related stressors which were found to be existed in garment manufacters’ work environment included stressors in task performance (repetitive motion, assuming poor postures, and poor ergonomic design). There were evident pain and discomfort reported in identified parts of the body: hips, ankle or feet, thighs, wrist, lower back, neck, upper back, and shoulder; as summarized in Table 3.
Personal Analysis/Synthesis of the Article:
One strongly believes that the information contained in the article are beneficial to the readers, especially to stakeholders within the garment manufacturing industry, in general. The authors were able to present crucial and relevant information regarding the stressors that abound within the work environment, particularly focusing on ergonomics attributes and facets. The manner of presentation was highly effective in disclosing the gist of the study that was conducted; as well as in highlighting relevant findings through the use of tabular formats. The language used was comprehensible and audiences from varied backgrounds could easily understand the messages and main points being relayed. The objective of the study was therefore effectively achieved through the appropriate use of the research methodology and the findings were clearly expounded. It was also commendable that limitations to the study, which included the allegedly small sample size was noted and future research on the same subject was therefore recommended using a larger sample size to determine consistency and reliability in results. One is therefore convinced that the findings would prove to beneficial to garment manufacturers and workers in terms of providing opportunities for improvements, especially in the area of ergonomics, in their work environment.
Vandyck, E., & Fianu, D. (2012). The work practices and ergonomic problems experienced by garment workers in Ghana. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 36, 486–491.