Human Factors and Ergonomics Journal (HFEJ)

Volume 6, No. 2 (2021)

Published online on 1 December 2021


Prevalence Rate of MSDs Discomforts Among Blue-Collar Workers in Telecommunication Industry

Y. Kudarsamy¹, Nor Hashim²

Page 1 – 12   |   Available online on 1 December 2021

Blue-collar workers who involve in high and enormous physical work demands within a limited time frame are more likely to be more physically straining and eventually develop work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). In recent years, physical exercise programs have received substantial attention at the workplace because of their association in reducing or minimizing the risk of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disorders and diseases. This study aims to determine the prevalence rate of MSDs among blue-collar workers in the telecommunication industry. A quantitative cross-sectional survey was conducted using Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire (CMDQ) among blue-collar workers in Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM). A total of 424 respondents participated in the study. Data were analysed based on frequency & descriptive analysis using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) tool. Based on the data collected, the most severe body region is identified to be the low back as well as the upper body parts among blue-collar workers at TM. Nevertheless, the absence of physical exercise and sedentary lifestyle among the blue-collar workers may have
contributed to the results. Thus, further study on physical exercise and WRMSDs is required to explore this issue.

Hand Tool Variants Selection Based on Posture Risk

Kiran Mohan, Pujara Dhaval Jayendrakumar, V. Madhusudanan Pillai, Praveen Sankaran, Arun C

Page 13 – 33   |   Available online on 1 December 2021

For a hand tool, varying the dimensional value of the selection parameters leads to different model variants. All the variants are not able to provide postural comfort and safety during work. This study suggests a method to identify ergonomically suitable hand tool variants that provide postural safety and comfort. Ten hand hoe variants used in the study are determined by varying the dimensional values of handle length, handle diameter and blade weight. The dynamically varying postures during soil loosening activity using each variant are identified from the video of hand hoe use. A sequence of image processing operations is used to extract, identify and classify postures from the video. The video-based data of ten women agricultural workers with ten hand hoe variants are classified and analysed for posture risk based on OWAS. The hand hoe variants are ranked based on postural safety and comfort. Thus, this paper presents an approach for the selection of hand tool variants considering posture risk.

Workload, Burnout, Emotional States, and Job Performance of Government Employees: An Exploratory Investigation from the Third Wave of COVID-19

N. D. Mohd Mahudin, N. I. A. Zaabar

Page 34 – 48   |   Available online on 1 December 2021

While studies examining the impact of the COVID-19 on the general population are in abundance, the number of research on its impact on government employees is limited. The present study investigated the levels of workload and the presence of burnout, negative emotional states, and job performance on a sample of government employees in Malaysia during the third wave of the pandemic. Participants (n = 118) answered an
online survey with questions about their demographic characteristics, NASA Task Load Index (workload), Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (burnout), Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (negative emotional states), and Job Performance Scale (job performance). Results showed that participants reported high workloads and exhibited high burnout and negative emotional states scores. Regression analyses indicated that workload is a strong predictor of work-related burnout and depression, anxiety, and stress, even after controlling for age.
Contrary to the expectations, workload did not correlate or predict job performance. The uncertainty and shift in work together with the increased workload brought about by the pandemic affect government employees’ psychological well-being. Future research will benefit from identifying the factors behind the interplay between workload, burnout, emotional states, and other job outcomes, which can then inform the development of specific, theoretically grounded interventions to improve employees’ psychological well-being.

The Hand -The Basic Anthropometry

D.D.I. Daruis, N.K. Khamis, B.M. Deros

Page 49 – 55   |   Available online on 1 December 2021

This study focuses on hand anthropometry data which should be the most important parameters in handheld devices and many other products that are handled with hands, however is not well-addressed. Currently, there are few Malaysian anthropometry data established, but none is specific on hand anthropometry. Therefore, it is aimed that if the basic hand anthropometry data collected for this study is congruent with the old data, more advanced hand parameters could be generated even though the subjects are limited. Thirty males and females basic hand data were measured and compared to a 10-year-old Malaysian database. Results showed the current data are similar to the existing local hand anthropometry data with the average hand length for males being 20cm and 17.65cm for females. However, a comparison based on a confidence interval of male hand length
revealed that the current data has 95% [15, 24] whilst the elderly data 95% CI [16, 18], the workforce data 95% CI [18, 19] and the adult data 95% CI [18, 19]. It shows that the anthropometry data from the current subjects can be used to represent Malaysian hand anthropometry, based on the agreement of the basic hand anthropometry confidence interval with previously established data.

Design Analysis of Foldable Table Armchair for Left-Handed User

M.I.A. Osman, N. Nasir

Page 56 – 67   |   Available online on 1 December 2021

The left-handed person is known to have poor body posture and experience discomfort while performing writing activities on the foldable table armchair which is mostly designed for the right-handed population. Poor body postural and discomfort may lead to fatigue and muscle pain. Although many reported findings had
discussed product design for the left-handed population, very little information’s on the use of CAE ergonomic analysis embedded in foldable table arm design activities were reported. Thus, the objective of this study is to develop a detailed design of a foldable tabletop chair for left-handed people using computer-aided design (CAD) and to analyse appropriate hand and body posture in relation to the design by using computer-aided engineering (CAE) ergonomic analysis. By using Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) analysis the postural result of the manikin on the proposed design model shows the highest risk with a score of 6 occurring at the wrist, arm, neck, trunk and leg. The risk on the neck is identified likely due to the proposed design concept not providing any neck support. As for the risk on the arm and other segments of the manikin, further analysis for result improvement can be done by optimizing the manikin sitting position on the chair and the design of the proposed chair. From
Finite Element Analysis (FEA), the table was expected to have defects sooner thus a stronger wood type is to be considered than the suggested pine wood. The study concludes that the use of CAE ergonomic analysis could identify potential posture problems in the design stage thus producing better ergonomic product design.

Development of The Flower Garland Stringing Device for Ergonomic Risk Reduction Among Garland Makers

C. Theppitak, K. Janphipat, K. Khongsuk, S. Boonkrong, S. Sattathara, N. Kunnatham, C. Krungaset, K. Meevasana

Page 68 – 87   |   Available online on 1 December 2021

Flower garland makers are at risk of musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) due to repetitive tasks and sitting for long periods in inappropriate postures. This study aimed to assess ergonomic risks and develop the flower garland stringing device in order to reduce ergonomic risks of flower garland makers. Participants in this study consisted of 30 garland makers. Ergonomic risk levels were assessed using the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) technique prior to work improvement. The results showed that the riskiest step was threading the flower into the needle with RULA scores of 7 on both left and right sides of the body. The RULA score of 7 is categorized as high risk and needs to investigate and change immediately. Therefore, we developed
the flower stringing device and improve the workstation to reduce those ergonomic risks. Usage of the device can reduce working steps that pose ergonomic risks by changing from threading flowers to needle by hands to stringing flowers to needle using the device. The device can reduce repetitive pinch grip and workstation improvement leading to the proper sitting posture. After work improvement, the satisfaction score was higher than that of before improvement on the appropriateness of shapes and materials used in work, the convenience of working, workstation and working environment. However, the device for threading flower garlands should be improved to be able to thread flowers more quickly and make the garland to be more beautiful with higher quality.

Strategising Ergonomics Sustainability: Reviewing Passive Design Approaches and Its Applications for Humane Design

Stephen T.F. Poon

Page 88 – 105   |   Available online on 1 December 2021

This paper brings together classical principles of sustainable design to frame perspectives and arguments for humane design in reducing environmental impacts. Research will focus on the application of ergonomic principles in the processes of choosing materials and built construction, and to discuss the impact of integrating climatic and humane design strategies. The case study compares application of three pioneering sustainable architecture. The basis of this interpretive case method of research enables a contemporary reinterpretation in ergonomics sustainability while enhancing perspectives on passive design opportunities still valid today. The main objective of study is to examine several questions: What key architectural issues cause
negative environmental impacts? How are fundamental elements of passive design be applied in developing sustainable ergonomic architecture designs without compromising future resource needs? An American case study is presented. The primary assessment method is an analysis of the ways in which the principles of economy of resources, lifecycle design and humane design are incorporated into the architectural concept and planning. It is hoped the analysis leads field practitioners to seek environmental solutions for built construction methods and technologies, while consciously adopting a pro-environmental strategy in sustainable architectural design planning.

Prevalence Study of the Risk for Musculoskeletal Disorders Among University Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Abdul Kareem Basil Alkolak, Ammar Adnan, Norhashimah Mohd Shaffiar, Mohd Hanafi Ani, Malek Hamid

Page 106 – 118   |   Available online on 1 December 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted human daily routines. At higher education institutions, the adoption of online classes has result in increasing of electronic devices engagement among the university community, which may increase the risk for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Currently, there is no prevalence study on the risk for MSDs among the university students in Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, this study was done to investigate the matter. Objectives of the study are: (i) to determine the prevalence of the MSDs symptoms among the university students during the COVID-19 pandemic; (ii) to determine the correlation between the credit hours registered and the number of body parts experiencing MSDs symptoms and the level of discomfort of the MSDs symptoms; (iii) to determine the correlation between the daily hours engaged with the electronics devices for the online classes and the number of body parts experiencing MSDs symptoms and the level of discomfort of the MSDs symptom; and (iv) to determine the correlation between the level of discomfort reported and the level of interference to work reported. 137
students were responded to the questionnaire and they were undergraduate Engineering students from the International
Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) [male, n = 94; female, n = 41] between 19-29 years of age [mean = 22.94; SD = 1.73]. The Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire (CMDQ) was used, in which, respondents were asked to report their body parts that experiencing MSDs symptoms (total of 12 body parts) and its frequency. Moreover, they were also asked to report the level of discomfort (3 levels – slightly, moderate, very uncomfortable) and level of interference (3 levels – not at all, slightly, substantially). The results reveal that: (i) the average number of body parts that experiencing the MSD symptoms was 6.95/12 [SD = 3.52]; (ii) the average score of the level of discomfort was 1.51/3 [SD = 0.64]; (iii) the average score of the level of interference was 1.59/3 [SD = 0.64]; (iv) the most affected body parts are neck, shoulder, upper back, and lower back; (v) there is no correlation between the credit hours registered and the number of body pain reported as well as the level of discomfort; (vi) there is correlation between the daily hours electronics devices engagement with the number of body pain reported, r (137) = 0.206; p < 0.05 and with the level of discomfort reported, r (137) = 0.201; p < 0.05; and (viii) there was a strong positive correlation between the level of pain and the level of interference
reported, r (137) = 0.661; p < 0.01. This study shows university students are indeed exposed to the risk for MSDs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, the study contributes the prevalence study on the risk for MSDs among the university students during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the implementation of the online classes and focuses on the 3rd Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – good health & well being. Detail investigations can be furthered such as considering the differences between the work-related and non-work-related factors and the effect of daily routines e.g. physical activity and study habit.