Risk Assessment of Forging Workers in Unorganized Sector of Uttrakhand, India
Authors: Kavita Narwal, Promila Sharma, Pratibha Joshi
Abstract: A blacksmith is a person who forges, or shapes, metal by first heating it until it is red-hot, then uses tools like chisels and hammers to force the metal into the shape he desires. Blacksmiths usually work standing up and have to bend over to work on pieces of metal. The work can involve heavy lifting, use of power tools such as power hammers, drills, air chisels and hydraulic presses. However, use of such power tools and poor body posture lead to MSDs. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are common health problem throughout the world and a major cause of disability in the workplace. MSDs are found due to Inappropriate and poor working postures, lack of task variation, poor ergonomic design of work places, and poor design of plant layout, long working hours, low salaries and awkward schedules are all areas where relatively simple intervention can significantly reduce the rate of exposure to MSDs. They also deal with extremely hot objects and face a constant worry about fire and heat. The blacksmiths perform repetitive hammering jobs that give shape to the instruments. This type of job not only requires skill but is also time consuming. Hammering jobs are responsible for most of the incidents. In Iron & Steel and other manufacturing industries, foundries and forges produce a lots of pollutants in the environment – both working and ambient environment. In these processes, metals are extracted and produced from ores by various metallurgical processes and processes for moulding, melting and castings etc. are accompanied by evolution of heat, noise, dust fines, fly-ash, oxides of Nitrogen, Sulphur and metals. Particulate matters are generated in large quantities when preparing mould core sands and moulds melting metals, pouring metal, knocking out poured moulds and loading and unloading raw materials. Here metals are given a specific shape by metal castings for various engineering purposes. Gaseous matters like gases, vapours, fumes and smoke are produced during melting and pouring operations. The major pollutants are emitted from various work areas in Foundry i.e. Pattern shop, Sand preparation, moulding and core making, mould drying and ladle heating, cupola, electric arc furnace, pouring and mould cooling, knockout, fettling, heat treatment etc. In addition, various air pollutants and noise pollutants (Davis, 2002) are produced from forge shops and other manufacturing industrial units. So keeping all these factors in mind, a study was conducted to assess the risks involved among forging workers of Uttrakhand state of India. For this purpose 120 workers were taken through snowball technique. The data revealed that the most common problem faced by the workers was improper working posture and inappropriate working environment. Due to poorly designed work place, working environment, and working tools, workers physiological and psychological cost of work was high they reported to have health problems like back ache, shoulder ache and difficulty in movement of hands while in operation. Workers were also observed to be found irritated and restless.
Keywords: Blacksmith, MSDs, Ergonomics, awkward schedules
Cite this paper: