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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 78-84

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders of tribal female Sal leaf platemakers: An unperceived issue

1 Department of Physiology, Ergonomics and Occupational Physiology Laboratory, University of Kalyani, Kalyani, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Subhashis Sahu
Department of Physiology, Ergonomics and Occupational Physiology Laboratory, University of Kalyani, Nadia, Kalyani - 741 235, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_38_19

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BACKGROUND: Industrialization and globalization produce a threat to the traditional livelihood of the indigenous population. A large number of tribal people in Asia are engaged in small-scale forest-based industries. Sal leaf platemaking is a common occupation among most tribal women in the Eastern part of India. However, occupational health problems of the women engaged in this job are hardly reported so far. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was carried out on 400 female workers engaged in Sal leaf platemaking units and 100 tribal female homemakers were considered as a referent. Modified Nordic Questionnaire and body part discomfort rating scale were applied for finding reported pain. The working postures were evaluated by rapid entire body assessment, rapid upper limb assessment, and Ovako Working Posture Analysis System (OWAS) methods. RESULTS: The findings emphasize that the Sal leaf platemakers complaints about different musculoskeletal problems. They have to go to the nearby forest (2–3 km far) by foot for 3–4 days per week for collecting the Sal leaves and carry it to their home for making of plates. They spend 4–6 hour daily in making Sal leaf artifacts. The maximum discomforts felt were reported in the lower back, hips, neck, leg, and hand during working hours and also some after the work. The postural analysis shows that most of the posture adopted during Sal leaf platemaking requires corrective measures. CONCLUSION: Postural stress is a causative agent for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Therefore, to reduce the problems faced by them, some low-cost ergonomic interventions such as working bench, proper work-rest cycle, and back support should be formulated and implemented for the betterment of their daily livings.

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