An exploratory study of ergonomic work practices in selected small manufacturing engineers.
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Many organizations are using ergonomic principles and its applications to improve and optimize the current levels of productivity, safety and health. This can be achieved by carefully examining the current management and work practices with the view of finding alternative ways to perform these tasks. In view of the above this research examines the current management and work practices of three small manufacturing engineers, with the purpose of providing inputs, to improve their current status through the application of ergonomic principles. The study is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on the review of current literature on ergonomics and specifically discusses issues such as anthropometry, cumulative trauma disorders, manual material handling, and ergonomic based management systems. The second part focuses on an assessment and identification of existing problems and areas of weaknesses in the workplace. This was accomplished through in depth interviews, observation and questionnaires. The final part presents the research findings followed by the discussion and proposed recommendations. The study has revealed that there is a fundamental lack of knowledge of ergonomics and its relationship to productivity, safety and health. Currently most work practices are guided by what has been learnt and internalized over the years. The researcher proposes that in order to successfully implement an ergonomics programme, ergonomic awareness, training and education, self help training, management commitment and work force participation are essential.