THE ASSESSMENT OF THE SUITABILITY OF ERGONOMIC SPECIFICATION IN THE CONTROL OF INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT RATE IN AGRO ALLIED INDUSTRY. (A CASE STUDY OF ADALPALM NIGERIAN LTD)
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
1.1 THE BACKGROUND OF CASE STUDY
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.
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.
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.