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|Title: ||Ergonomics issues and methodologies in industrially developing countries|
|Authors: ||McNeill, Marc B.|
|Issue Date: ||1999|
|Publisher: ||© Marc B. McNeill|
|Abstract: ||This thesis considers the application of ergonomics in Industrially Developing
Countries (IDCs) with a particular focus on rural subsistence agriculture in Ghana.
The thesis had two aims, firstly to identify the need for ergonorMcs to be incorporated
into international development projects. A survey of the causes and incidence of illhealth
in subsistence fanning was undertaken A high incidence of occupational
disorders was recorded with injuries Erom. handtools and lower back pain being
endemic. This survey was followed by a checklist analysis and Participatory Rural
Appraisal of agroprocessing. Ergonomics issues were identified in many
agroprocessing activities. These included poor posture, repetitive motions, manual
handling, and stressful work environments. Inappropriate technology transfer was
widespread. Farmers behaviour when working in high ambient temperatures was
investigated in the field. Whilst methodological problems were encountered and
discussed, heat stress was considered a potential problem that deemed further
From the surveys and field investigation, ergonorMcs problems in human work in rural
subsistence agriculture were identified and a need for ergonotMcs to be incorporated
into development projects was demonstrated. In the light of this, the second aim of
the thesis was addressed, investigating the appropriateness of tools, methods and
standards for use in IDCs with an ergonomics tool kit being developed. Following on
from the field investigation into working in the heat, stratergies for assessing heat
stress in tropical agriculture were assessedin terms of their validity and usability. In a
simulated tropical agricultural task heat stress standards (ISO 7243 and ISO 7933)
were found to be valid if over protective. It can be anticipated that the ISO 7243 can
be easily used in IDCs. The usability of ISO 7933 however was questioned.
As the standards failed to accommodate for solar load, solar radiation and its effects
on the human thermoregulatory system were considered. Six subjects performed a
step test in outdoor conditions with a solar load, repeating this in similar conditions in
a thermal chamber with no solar load. The difference in sweat loss between the
conditions was attributed to the increased load from solar radiation. In the conditions
measured, the radiation incident on the human thermoregulatory system was 82W/M 2.
Two existing models for solar radiation were validated.
Subjective and objective ergonomics tools were assembled in a tool kit that was used
on an ad hoc basis in the field in Ghana. A pragmatic approach to the usability of the
tool kit was adopted. Drawing on practical experiences and expert analysis, it was
found that simple, reliable, robust and easy to maintain equipment was most
appropriate and usable in the field. Subjective rating scales proved to be difficult to
use and were unreliable. Participatory rural appraisal methods were found to be
simple, rapid and well suited to ergonomics research in tropical agriculture.
Practical implications from the research in Ghana were discussed and
recommendations made. The thesis concluded that there is a need for ergonomics
interventions in IDCs with the ergonomics tool kit being generally acceptable for use
in this field.
The thesis concluded that there is a need for ergonormcs and that the tools, methods
and standards considered were found to be generally usable, although the approach
often required adapting to local circumstances whilst maintaining scientific integrity.|
|Description: ||A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.|
|Appears in Collections:||PhD Theses (Design School)|
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