عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction Currently, musculoskeletal disorders are one of the most common occupational diseases and one of the most common causes of absenteeism, which leads to a decrease in productivity. Postural assessment methods are considered pivotal in the investigation of the risks of developing job-related musculoskeletal disorders. Various approaches are presented to assess the risk of injury in inappropriate postures. Agriculture is one of the most crucial sectors in both the developing and the developed countries since it ensures the food security of the country. In the process of producing sugarcane, a significant part of the stages of cutting, planting, and harvesting is done manually. A low level of knowledge about the correct condition of the body during work is one of the problems of farmers. Therefore, body status assessment methods are considered as the basis for assessing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders associated with work.
Materials and Methods This research was carried out with the aim of analyzing the risk factors of occupational skeletal musculoskeletal injuries in sugar cane farmers using QEC method and Nordic questionnaire. The quick exposure checklist (QEC) quickly assesses the exposure to risks for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). QEC is based on the practitioners’ needs and research on major WMSD risk factors. The Nordic body map is given to the participants to be filled out with the assist of a student research assistant when needed. However, due to practical reasons, most participants are interviewed using the semi-structured method by a student research assistant. The Nordic body map consists of 28 parts of the body that must be rated based on the symptoms. Examples of the body parts are the right shoulder, upper arm, etc. The postures of 50 cutting workers, 200 planting workers, and 50 harvesting workers were selected by random sampling and analyzed using QEC2003 software.
Results and Discussion According to the results of the Nordic questionnaire in manual cutting sugarcane, the most prevalent signs of musculoskeletal disorders were in the waist (80%), wrists and hands (78%), knees (74%), and feet (70%). In manual planting sugarcane, the most prevalent signs of musculoskeletal disorders were in the areas of the waist (89%), back (86.5%), and knee (84.5%), respectively. The findings also indicate that in the manual harvesting operations, the most prevalent signs of musculoskeletal disorders were the wrist and hand (88%), waist (84%), and foot (80%). The results of the Nordic questionnaire show that most disadvantages of cutting, planting, and harvesting in workers are visible in the lower back (80%), lower back (89%), and wrist/hand (88%), respectively. The prevalence of skeletal musculoskeletal disorders, especially in the waist, was observed among a high number of sugarcane producers.
The results also showed that in the QEC method, in cutting, planting, and harvesting 44, 62, and 59 percent of workers’ postures were placed in the most critical group. In manual cutting of sugarcane, 30 percent of the workers were at the high-risk level and 44 percent of workers were at high risk, indicating the high risk of this operation, and that better preventive measures should begin as soon as possible. In the QEC method for manual planting of sugarcane, 7% of the postures of workers is acceptable and their risk is very low. Work posture for 9.5% of people requires more research and attention, and 21.5% of workers must be treated fairly fast. 62% of the postures of workers need to be corrected promptly. In the QEC method for manual harvesting of sugarcane, the posture requires 14% more research and attention, and 28% of workers should be treated fairly quickly. For 59% of postoperative workers, work should be promptly corrected. The QEC analysis showed that some of the work postures posed greater risks of MSDs to the workers with QEC scores. QEC helps to prevent many kinds of WMSDs from developing and educates users about WMSD risks in their workplaces.
Conclusion The study has identified the body parts and tasks of the workers exposed to ergonomic risks through the Nordic questionnaire and the QEC method, respectively. Results from the study showed that the majority of the workers were having WMSDs.The physical condition of sugar cane production workers needs to be corrected. The ergonomic training course can have an impact on improving the working conditions of workers, but it is not enough, and it is a must-have for the sugar agro-industry to move towards all mechanized operations.