Most of the manufacturing sectors workers exposed to the variety of hazards which depends on their work place environment. There are several types of hazard may exposed to the manufacturing workers such as mechanical hazard, chemical hazard, biological hazard, psychosocial hazard and ergonomic hazard. According to U.S Department of Labour, manual material handling is defined as seizing, holding, grasping, turning, or otherwise working with the hand or hands. Fingers are involved only to the extent that they are an extension of the hand, such as to turn a switch or to shift automobile gears.
According to California Department of Industrial Relations (2007), manual handling defined as a manual material handling means that the worker’s hands move individual containers manually by lifting, lowering, filling, emptying, or carrying them. The manual handling work exposed the repetitive movements, awkward postures, contact stresses, and forceful exertions to workers.
There are several issues due to manual handling that arise among the manufacturing sectors. The accident rate during manual handling increase from year to year. Accidents can ruin lives and affect businesses in term of output lost, equipment damage, insurance costs increase and potential the accident cases was failed to court. The unsafe manual handling practice also effect worker health and certain cases the worker suffer long term effect. Moreover the SOCSO claim among worker also high.
The manual handling is the main focus in this study. The survey among management staffs and operators will be conduct with the same set of survey questions. The respondents from curry, bunjut and paste production will involve in this survey.
The work area that have been studied was determine for the collection of work activities information’s. The information such as work procedure, process flow, work station design, the specific location for the tools or components which are used to do the work. The information that been collected will give influent to the preventive action/ control measurement for the propose steps.
The ergonomic risk identification will be done by connection between work activities and ergonomic risk factor using Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control (HIRARC) method.
The assessment and interview session at the work area will be done to identify the workers that expose to the ergonomic and safety risk. The workers opinion will be used because they was more well-known and have an idea to improve work station.
The implementation of preventive action steps will based on the information gather during interview session and assessment. The main purpose is to ensure the worker know the risk factor and effect to the workers. The ergonomic design of work station will be proposed using prevention through design method to eliminate or at least reduce the ergonomic risk.
This study will be done at one of the food manufacturing company in Rawang, Selangor. Total man power at the food manufacturing company is more than 900 persons (for factory and main office). This factory just hired competent safety officer to monitor safety, health and environment issues last year. There are many thing to do to develop osh management system for this company (first batch of safety officer hired). They also have safety committee member from workers representative and management representative.
The food manufacturing company have several factories with different products.
Each division divided with respective product such as Factory A (spices and bunjut), Factory B (paste, soy sauce, seafood sauce, chili & tomato sauce and tamarin), Factory C (flour, msg and salt) and Factory D (canning). The study will focus on the manual handling activities in Factory A (curry and bunjut process) and Factory B (paste process).
There are several issues that often expressed by the workers in manual handling process such as;
i. The load is too heavy and/or bulky, placing unreasonable demands on the person.
ii. The load has to be lifted from the floor and/or above the shoulders.
iii. The job involves frequent repetitive lifting.
iv. The job requires awkward postures, such as bending or twisting.
v. The load can’t be gripped properly.
vi. The job is performed on uneven, wet, or sloping floor surfaces.
vii. The job is performed under time pressures and doesn’t include enough rest.
The main problem for manual handling in this factory is the workers not practise the safe operating procedure. They also learn from super senior experience. Moreover, there are too many human factor error during manual handling that will lead to serious injury or long term illness effects.
Hence, there is a need to come out with an assessment method, to measure the knowledge of manual handling safety among the production staffs. Recommendation for improvements using prevention through design method can then be advise based on the assessment findings.
1.3 Problem Statement
The safety awareness among workers in Malaysia is still low especially in manual handling safety. The company that been study is not fully done yet their HIRARC and the incident rate is higher.
The situation become worse when the company hired a man power (operator) without ability in speaking, understanding and writing in our national language or English. This situation can lead to accident risk due to unsafe act and unsafe condition.
More worst, this new foreigner workers referring their senior workers from the same country when have difficulty. Some of the learning contains is based on super senior worker experience which not follow the safe operating procedure/manual prepared by the company.
Therefore, there is a need to come out with an assessment method, to ensure the safety knowledge or awareness among the workers. The method of measurement should be generic enough that it could cater multiple background education, nationality and gender. Recommendation for improvements can be revised based on the assessment findings. After HIRARC is implement, adjustment need to be done so that it can raise the foreigner workers understanding and easier to follow.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are as follows:
1) To conduct gap analysis on the understanding of worker & management level due to health risk during manual handling.
2) To identify related hazard and conduct risk assessment by following the HIRARC Guideline.
3) To suggest suitable risk control and process improvement for manual handling processes by using PTD concept.
1.5 The Scope of the Study
The study was conducted within the scopes as defined below:
1) The manual handling is the main focus in this study.
2) The study was involved the operation staff working in the selected sites (exclusively for the staff that involved with manual handling processes) in the food manufacturing company in Rawang, Selangor.
3) Three area was involved in this study which is curry, bunjut and paste processing line.
4) The respondent for the survey include management staffs and production operators with same set of survey questions.
5) This study will cover the hazard identification, risk assessment and also risk control based on Guidelines for Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control (HIRARC), DOSH, 2008.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is conducted to improve the hazard especially during manual handling process. This study not only give benefits to the employers but also to the employee in term of their safety and health. It helps staff to be more concern in safety and health during manufacturing and also to increase the level of operator’s knowledge.
Company also will have a proper document for manual handling assessment. By having a proper risk control plan, it will help company to reduce the hazard in this section.
Based on the method of assessing manual handling risks, this research is beneficial for the food manufacturing management to assess their processes. After assessment has been done accordingly, recommendations for improvement can then be stipulated based on the gap and the weaknesses points identified in the study. This is not just to ensure that the food manufacturing company comply with the regulations. Moreover, it will also increase the customer confidence level in term of products safety and quality. Beside can improve the manufacturing process, it can minimize loss and increase the profit to the company.