Hazards and Risks at Rotary Screen Printing (Part 2/6): Analysis of Machine-operators’ Posture via Rapid-Upper-Limb-Assessment (RULA)

Diana Starovoytova


Musculoskeletal-disorders (MSDs) are one of the-most-noticeable global-problems, ergonomists come- across, in the-workplace. To-prevent MSDs, their-root-causes, particularly, poor/awkward-postures, should be identified, first. This-study examined such-postures, at-printing-section of finishing-department, at textile-mill, via numerical-rating ergonomic-assessment-tool, namely Rapid-Upper-Limb-Assessment (RULA). In-addition, ISO 11226: Ergonomics, evaluation of static-working-postures (2000); and EN-1005- 4: Safety of machinery, human-physical-perfor­mance, and evaluation of working-postures, in relation to-machinery, were-used, as a-reference. The-RULA-analysis, on the-two-chosen highest-risk-postures (#1 and #2), identified 2nd and 3rd action-level of danger of musculoskeletal-injury (MSI), necessitating further-investigation, and possible-change/correction. These-investigations revealed the-following-risks of MSDs or MSIs, for the-posture #1: (1) awkward-back posture--trunk-bending-forward, at the-waist, with 46 degrees deviation, from neutral-posture; (2) visually-demanding-operation (risk of eye-strain); (3) contact-pressure; (4) stress on lower-extremities; and (5) standing-static-posture. For the-posture #2, the-risks were: (1) awkward-neck, and head-posture, with 38 degrees-deviation, from neutral-posture; (2) risk of eye-strain; (3) stress on lower-extremities; and (5) standing static-posture. Several-tailored recommendations, to-control, or prevent, the-identified-hazards, were-offered, including: engineering, work-practice/administrative, and PPE-approaches. In-addition, 3 areas, for-further-research, were identified. Moreover, informative-synopsis on relevant-issues were-also-given, such-as on: Work-related MSDs (WRMSDs) and their-prevalence; Working in neutral-posture; Awkward-posture, its-effects, and relevance to WRMSDSs; Upper-limb-MSDs; RULA; Spine and awkward-back-posture; Visually demanding-operation and eye-strain; Printing-defects; Digital-image-processing-techniques; Contact pressure; Standing-static-posture; Stress on lower-extremities; and GSE- automatic-dispensing systems, among-others. The-study is important, for textile-printing-industry, particularly the-management of the-textile-printing-section, at the-textile-mill, as it provides specific-recommendations, for consideration to-implementation, to-reduce and control the-risks of WRMSDs. It-also-adds (in its-small-way) to-the-body of knowledge on WRMSDs.

Keywords: textile industry, MSDs, WRMSDs, awkward-posture, printing defects, machine operator.

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