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Work-related problems in metal handling tasks in Bangladesh: obstacles to the development of safety and health measures

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Many manual labourers in Bangladesh are involved with metal-handling tasks that are both physically demanding and stressful. The metal workers have been significantly exposed to prolonged hammering and cutting activities in excessive noise and with awkward body postures. Moreover, stressors from heat and humidity, welding fumes and metal dusts often cause excess strain, and are reflected in a deterioration of their physical work performance. Indeed, physical work is the economic source in many developing countries for the support of worker's family and relatives. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles and a lack of efficient steps to restore ergonomics principles as well as occupational safety and health measures. Thus, in this paper, tasks and jobs are classified and analysed from the results of an ergonomics survey from 343 subjects (293 adults men, age 20 - 40 years; 17 women, 19-32 years) and 33 child workers (14-17 years). Four types of metal working sites from two districts in Bangladesh were surveyed using questionnaires and interviews. The results showed that a significant number of workers experienced a high prevalence of work-related problems. The main aim was to identify stressful tasks that are related to musculoskeletal and psychosocial symptoms. Moreover, the findings reveal the possibility of why ergonomics measures are unsuccessful; and if they could have an immediate effect on the safety and health of metal workers in Bangladesh.
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Keywords: METAL WORKSHOPS MANUAL LABOURERS PHYSICAL WORKLOAD SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT DEVELOPING COUNTRY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1999

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