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THE ASSESSMENT OF THE SUITABILITY OF ERGONOMIC SPECIFICATION IN THE CONTROL OF INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT RATE IN AGRO ALLIED INDUSTRY

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THE ASSESSMENT OF THE SUITABILITY OF ERGONOMIC SPECIFICATION IN THE CONTROL OF INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT RATE IN AGRO ALLIED INDUSTRY

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Many agro allied companies in the Nigerian industries have made a substantial effort to reduce work-related injuries due to heavy lifting, repetitive motion, awkward and static work postures, vibration, and other recognized ergonomic stressors. The results achieved by these companies demonstrate that there are effective, affordable ways to protect industry employees from injury while maintaining or, in many cases increasing productivity, quality and employee morale. Lost-time work injuries caused by cumulative and acute trauma of the musculoskeletal system such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back injuries are some of the most costly workers’ compensation claims in industry today.

In its 1998 national figures, Liberty Mutual Group estimates that these injuries totaled more than 41 percent of all reported injuries with an estimated $15.7 billion dollars in direct workers’ compensation costs (Liberty, 2001).

Ergonomics specification is an effective approach to reducing the number and severity of these work-related injuries. Ergonomics specification is the practice of designing equipment, work tasks and work environments to conform to the capability of the worker … to create more efficient work places and prevent injuries to employees.

Ergonomics, also known as human engineering or human factors engineering, the science of designing machines, products, and systems to maximize the safety, comfort, and efficiency of the people who use them. Ergonomists draw on the principles of industrial engineering, psychology, anthropometry (the science of human measurement), and biomechanics (the study of muscular activity) to adapt the design of products and workplaces to people’s sizes and shapes and their physical strengths and limitations. Ergonomists also consider the speed with which humans react and how they process information, and their capacities for dealing with psychological factors, such as stress or isolation. Armed with this complete picture of how humans interact with their environment, ergonomists develop the best possible design for products and systems, ranging from the handle of a toothbrush to the flight deck of the space shuttle.

Ergonomists view people and the objects they use as one unit, and ergonomic design blends the best abilities of people and machines. Humans are not as strong as machines, nor can they calculate as quickly and accurately as computers. Unlike machines, humans need to sleep, and they are subject to illness, accidents, or making mistakes when working without adequate rest. But machines are also limited—cars cannot repair themselves, computers do not speak or hear as well as people do, and machines cannot adapt to unexpected situations as well as humans. An ergonomically designed system provides optimum performance

Adapalm has two oil palm plantations namely, then Ohaji plantation and Umogu plantation. The Ohaji plantation has been given its pride of place ever since the year 2005. Thus as at February 15 2010, the Ohaji plantation has no motorable access roads. Its palms were not pruned and about 65% of it was “colonized” by thick forest. There was zero replanting activity to sustain the plantation future and fortunes. At Umuogu Plantation, the Story was the same. WORK & SERVICES/EQUIPMENTS As at February 2010 Adapalm had 29 vehicles consisting of light duty, heavy duty and earth moving equipments/vehicles. Out of this number 22 were bad while 7 are good. The building section had only 1 shovel and 1 head pan. There were no working tools etc. Similarly only 6 out of 14 Company Computers were in working condition while again only 4 out of 9 Adapalm printers were functional. FINANCE At the inception of the Interim Management Committee on the 15th February 2010, Adapalm had only the sum of N2,950.00k to hand  over as cash at hand to the Interim Management Committee. All bank balances were also sadly in red. ADMINISTRATIONS/SECURITY The Staff strength of Adapalm as at December 2009 stood at 792 workers. Out of this number 85 were of Senior category, 666 were of junior category while 41 were casual workers. However as at February 2010 over 35% of these workers withdrew their services due to deprived work conditions. The 154 Security workers at Adapalm for instance had only about 36 and this led to increased insecurity and brazen looting of the company properties. Stealing and robbery became a daily affair. Your Excellency I have gone this memory lane so that you will appreciate the efficiency of my coming argument that the Interim Management Committee headed by Deacon Kerian Onwuzuruike is indeed a rescue team that Adapalm requires for now. Within the short period of the Interim Management Committee at Adapalm between 15th of February 2010 and 6th June 2011 when your Excellency disbanded it, the following can be said to be their performance and achievements. And these achievements are subjects to verifications.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERFORMANCE OF INTERIM MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE. The present Interim Management Committee has within the period under review recorded the following feats: ·         Restored harmonized work relationship amongst staff and Management for improved progress. Maintained regular payment of workers wages, salaries, and other emoluments. Restoration of lost work ethics for a disciplined workforce. Regular provision of drugs/medical materials to the industrial clinic for improved workers’ health care delivery Completed the replanting of 50 hectares in the felled field of the 1975 plantation, using about 6750 oil palm seedlings of tenera specie. Fully developed 16000- sucker pineapple orchard with a targetof 20,000 suckers to diversify the income base of Adapalm. Improved the Community Relation status between Adapalm and its host Communities. Completed the rehabilitation of 20 KM and 22KM of access roads in the Ohaji Plantation in the first and second phases, respectively of the maintenance efforts. Completed the slashing of about 1150 hectares of the bushy area of the Ohaji Plantation using a roller and Tractor refurbished by the Interim Management Committee. Refurbished the Ohaji Mill’s Pail Loader

Refurbished the Ohaji Mill Forklift Reorganized the harvesting technique in the Ohaji Plantation for improved fruits output. Completed the refurbishment of a Tipper Truck to aid fruits evacuation in the Plantation Completed the refurbishment of a High Jack Truck to aid the operations of the Company Reinvigorated environmental cleanliness of the Ohaji Nucleus Estate to recover its lost ecstatic beauty. Reorganized the security of the Company to involve the use of contract outfit, Joint patrol operations and Community security arrangement. Commenced the reactivation of the Ohaji Mill. Over 80% of the job has been completed, while the Mill is billed to start full operation by the first week of June 2010. Establishment of a 10,000 hybrid oil palm nursery seedlings for continuation of replanting programme in the Ohaji Plantation. Established a viable commercial vegetable garden to diversify Company revenue. Procurement of a brand new Nissan Patrol Jeep – fully equipped with radio communication gadgets for the plantation and estate security.

Effective policing of the Plantation resulting to the arrest of over 66 persons, recovery of 44 motorcycles, 1 bicycle, 1 wheelbarrow, 6 Malaysian knives (as exhibits) and over 20 tons of fruits from thieves. Settled out of Court an undelivered produce suit against Adapalm by a Customer involving about N3m. Renovated the Board Room and re-commenced its use for Management and other meetings in the Company Resolution by out-of-court a land entitlement suits against Adapalm involving N900M claims. Settled out of court a dud cheque suit by two Contractors against Adapalm involving about N6M. Restored registration as a precondition for doing business with Adapalm. Almost N1.6M has been generated so far by the registration of business names. Restored sanity in the services and sales of Adapalm produce by insisting on the policy of cash-for-product and first-in-first-out arrangement. Reduced the Company’s produce debt by N42m by the end of April 2011.

Accrued produce debts of year 2002 were serviced by the Interim Management Committee. Commenced payment to some contractors who were at the verge of instituting legal suits against Adapalm over unpaid bills. Recruited about 120 fresh workers of different cadres to increase productivity and efficiency in the business of Adapalm. Approved the increment of workers’ salary by 20% to induce higher performance. The last salary increment was done in 2001. Approved the implementation of a general promotion for all the workers, the last of which was done in 2005. Set up a formal system of loose fruits were hitherto left in the hands of thieves and the Company was loosing much revenue as a result. Mobilized work for total recovery of the Adapalm Plantation from thickforest as most parts of the Plantation have not been cleared of bush for upward of 15years. Installation of a modern communication gadget with a standby generator for its base operations. Defrayed all outstanding administrative charges owed to MOPOL 18 Command to facilitate effective deployment of the Police. Commenced the reactivation of the Umuogu Mill. Given sufficient resources, the Mill will resume full production in July 2011.

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The issue of accident and unsafe working condition in most of our agro allied industries has become a dilapidating issue in the world. The quest to eradicate this treat within our industries is the major and primary problem that is associated with this work. The secondary problem is on how to apply the ergonomic specification in the eradication of these problems.

1.3     OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

This research work is aimed at unveiling some of the industrial accident that are associated with the agro allied industries in Nigeria such as Musculoskeletal Disorders, Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs), Acute Traumas, Ergonomic Stressors etc. and to stipulate ways in which this accidents can be reduced trough the application of the ergonomic specification method.

1.4     SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY

There have been a lot of accidents in most of the agro allied industries in Nigeria and the world at large. Owing to this fact, the findings of this research work will be of great significant to most agro allied industries. Though the research work was carried out within Adapalm, the findings will be of great help to all the agro allied industries at large.

1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following questions will be treated in the course of this research work thus:

1. What types of work are most likely to pose ergonomic hazards?

2. Can non- Work-related factors cause Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)?

3. If yes what are the factors?

4. Is it possible for one to know when he or she has MSD?

5. If Yes How

6. What parts of the body are most affected by MSDs?

7. Do you believe that Ergonomic specification help in the control of industrial accident rate in most Industries?

1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

A hypothesis is a proposition that is stated in testable form and prediction of particular relationship between two or more variables.

Ho: There is no significant relationship between Ergonomic specification and the control of industrial accident rate in agro allied industry

Hi: There is great significant relationship between Ergonomic specification and the control of industrial accident rate in agro allied industry

1.7     SCOPE OF THE STUDY

For the sake of coherency and clarity, the scope of this work does not involve in totality all the means to eradicate accident in our agro allied industries but limits itself to the application of ergonomic specification in the eradication of accidents within the industrial sector. For the sake of precision, the research work will be carried out within Adapalm Ohaji/Egbema LGA Area In Imo State, though references of some authors will be convoked.

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