WORK-RELATED MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS (WMSDs) AMONG INDUSTRIAL PACKAGING WORKERS IN MALAYSIA
Author: Mohd Zubairy SHAMSUDIN, Vidya VIJAYAKUMAR and Mohd Yusof MD DAUD
Abstract: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) is an occupational health issue that being actively discussed over the world. In Malaysia, there is a trend of increasing over the years, particularly in the manufacturing sectors. OBJECTIVES: This study aims to investigate work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSDs) among manual material handling workers. METHODS: Task analysis was used to determine the work process and identify generic risk factors contributes to the WMSDs. Meanwhile, Work Movement Task Analysis (WMTA) was applied to evaluate specific work-related ergonomic risk factors. Further, the trend of discomfort and pain among workers was identified using body discomfort survey. Relationship between WMTA’s risk score and symptoms of discomfort was determined using chi-square analysis. RESULTS: It showed most of the workers (94%) were considered in the range of moderate risk according to WMTA’s risk categories, meanwhile two cases each for low and high-risk category. While body discomfort survey for neck, back, shoulder and arm and knee and legs respectively revealed 42%, 74%, 89% and 29% of workers had symptoms of discomfort or pain. However, there was no significant relationship between WMTA risk score with discomfort. Besides working postures, other factors also influenced WMSDs. This study suggests body mass index (BMI), smoking habit, psychosocial hazards and general health status possibly seems to predispose to the discomfort symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The activities were generally in the moderate risk level, which requires further investigation, and need to change when required. Shoulder discomforts substantially among workers mainly affected by pulling, pushing and lifting tasks. Effective control measures and prevention should employ according to the principles of OSH risk management inclusive hierarchy of risk controls. INDUSTRY RELEVANCE: Systematic ergonomic risk assessment consists of task analysis, onsite evaluation and body discomfort survey. Control measures lead by intervention steps on major risks followed by residual risks. This study introduces a new observational instrument called Work Movement Task Analysis (WMTA) as an alternative approach to evaluate WMSDs.
Keywords: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders, ergonomic risk assessment, task analysis, observational approach