Hazards and Risks at Rotary Screen Printing (Part 5/6): Pushing and Pulling

Diana Starovoytova


Pushing and pulling-tasks were initially-intended to-replace manual-materials-handling, including lifting, and to-help to-reduce-stress on musculoskeletal-system. Pushing, pulling, and maneuvering materials- handling (MH)-equipment, however, still involve some of the-old-hazards (overexertion), while creating new-ones. This-study was focused on hazards and risks, associated with pushing and pulling-tasks, at finishing-department, of a-textile-mill. Document-analysis, questionnaire, and numerous-observations (via site-visits) were utilized, as main-instruments for the-study. In-compliance with the-ISO 20252:2006 (E), the-questionnaire was pre-tested, for validity and reliability; SPPS-17, version 22 was applied, to-compute the-Cronbach’s coefficient. Descriptive-statistics was employed, to-analyze both; qualitative and quantitative-data. The-research targeted 12 printing-machine-operators; response-rate obtained (RR=92%). Majority of the-respondents (91%), indicated, that: repetitive-pushing and pulling-tasks were-conducted, daily; the-loads were heavy; moreover operators were not aware about the-actual-weigh, of a-particular load, so they just approximated; they also-pointed-out, that high-initial-forces were-required, to-get the-load moving; the-loads lacked good-handholds; and pushing and pulling-tasks were-conducted, in-confined spaces and/or narrow-doorways. 73% stated, that they performed more of pushing, than pulling-tasks. 64% indicated, that pushing and pulling involved: manoeuvring of the-load, into-position, or around-obstacles; some of the-MH-equipment was without brakes, making it difficult to-stop; and floors were, largely, uneven, damaged, and/or slippery. 45% claimed, that: occasionally, push or pull-movements involved high-speed and/or long-distances; MH-equipment (trolleys, carts), and floor-surfaces, were poorly maintained, cleaned and/or repaired; the-majority of MH-equipment was heavy, old, and hard to-steer; and that there was an-absence of the-suitable personal-protective-equipment, provided, and, hence, worn. In-addition to the-questionnaire, observation of different-pushing and pulling-practices, was conducted; one-illustrative-example of which, is presented, in-detail. Moreover, to-bring broader-perspective, the-following-aspects were covered: Pushing vs. pulling ongoing-debate; Pushing and Pulling Capability-Standards, Guidelines, and tools; Pushing and pulling-task phases and forces, involved; as-well-as relevant-factors/characteristics of: load; individual; equipment; and work-practice-environment. Finally, the-study offered general, as-well-as specific-recommendations, to-improve current-practices of pulling and pushing, at the-department. These should-be useful, to-employers and practitioners, who design and analyze, pushing and pulling-tasks, at the-department, and in-the-textile-printing-industry, at-large.

Keywords: forces, friction, MSDs, MSIs, human-machine-interface.

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