The Ergonomics Edge for Small Enterprises – Case Studies from the State of Telangana, India
Authors: Ratna Devarapalli, Vijaya Lakshmi Velivelli
Abstract: Terms like Ergonomic Fit, Ergonomic design, ergonomically correct / incorrect, etc have become synonymous with the term ‘Ergonomics’ and anyone interested increasing output / productivity without compromising on comfort. These terms have become a common phrase when talking about the design of tools and equipment or any design for that matter. But the word ‘Ergonomics’ has a great mystic around it because off its link with Engineering and industry especially when it comes to small industries. There are still a lot of apprehensions and doubts with the application of ergonomics at the small / medium enterprises. Hence there is need to understand and explain what constitutes good ergonomic design and how to understand what is "ergonomically in correct product" and choose products / changes which are not very expensive / involve major cost incurring for the small and medium enterprises. Four key physical risk factors associated with complaints of discomfort in the work environment such as: awkward postures, biomechanical stresses, repetition and force and environmental factors. For which the key is to eliminate the risk by providing a well-designed environment and affordable costs. It can also be mentioned as the process of adapting a space to meet human requirements which involves the study of how the human body functions in order to design spaces, furniture and devices which reduce fatigue and discomfort to improve operability and productivity along with affordability. While an increased emphasis on this concept, research data generated both corporate and at educational research centres over the past few years has shown that minor / minimum changes can amount to major benefits. With this objective, The department of Resource Management and Consumer Science (RMCS), College of Community Science (previously Home Science) has been teaching and conducting student research in the area of Ergonomics in various small enterprises in Telangana, India and this paper explains and highlights the importance of minor, small ergonomic cost effective interventions like extension of a handle, adding a sheath to the handle, increasing the height of the seating / workplace, improving the lighting, ensuring good ventilation have received good response from the users. This paper gives the details of all such research interventions done with the small and medium enterprises like weaving, metal and basketry works, classroom furniture etc, in the last 15years by the PG and PhD students and how the cost effective ergonomic edge was obtained or can be obtained and further demystify ergonomics for all.
Keywords: Ergonomics, Ergonomics Edge, Cost effective, Small enterprises
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