Ergonomic Workplace Evaluation in Ugandan Apparel Plants (Part-4)

Ergonomic Workplace Evaluation in Ugandan Apparel Plants (Part-4)
Tebyetekerwa Mike
Dept. of Textile & Clothing Technology
Kyambogo University
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256(0)773770312 // +256(0)701181383

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2.4.2 Pressing Department
The primary tasks in the pressing department are:
Fabric pressing
Fabric pressing
  • Hand Iron
  • Manual Press
  • Automatic Press
  • Fusing
Common problems
Working height. Ironing surfaces that are too low force the operator to assume a flexed back and neck posture while working. Surfaces that are too high require operators to work with their shoulders and arms elevated.

Floor surface. Pressing operations are performed standing up and many pressing workstations do not have anti- fatigue mats on top of hard floor surface.

Foot pedals. Operators use foot pedals to either activate vacuum suction on hand ironing tables or to activate steam and the movement of the press for manual and automatic presses. Foot pedals not close to the floor require the operator to balance on one leg. Small pedals are difficult to locate.

Input and Output. Hanging garments are located too high and require extended reaches to pick up and deposit garments. Garments piled on boxes or carts are in a position that is too low and requires bending and reaching.

Lighting. Inadequate lighting creates shadows and glare on some pressing surfaces increasing the visual demand on the operator. Hand iron

Common problems

Iron. A steaming button too far from the handle of the iron requires an extended thumb posture to activate.

Balancers. Some irons are not balanced by a spring from a rod above the workstation. This makes the iron more difficult to locate during a very rapid work cycle and the operator has to use additional force to pick up and manipulate the iron. Some irons are not balanced properly and require excessive force to reach all areas of the garment.

Upright steaming. Operators use the iron with the hot surface in a vertical position to steam a garment. The operator has to support the entire weight of the iron and sometimes has to resist the counter force of the balance.

Catchers. Catchers acted to support the weight of the garment while it was being pressed. Without a catcher in place large garments have a tendency to slip off the work

Iron with steam button too far from the handle, surface, and it requires more force to position and reposi- tion the garment.

Guarding. When heat guards are not in place, the handles of steam irons and the steam they produce are very hot. Manual press
Common problems
Controls. Hand controls are located too high and require excessive force to activate.

Multiple Workstations. Some manual press operators work from more than one press or alternate between manual and hand pressing. When not designed properly this causes unnecessary lifting and carrying through cluttered walkways. Automatic press
Common problems
Hand controls. Controls that are inaccessible require awkward postures and excessive force to activate.

Foot space. Insufficient space for the automatic shirt- press operators’ feet requires them to stand further away from the work area which increases the reaching required.

Contact area. Automatic shirt-press operators often rest against the press while they load the shirts. Some presses have hard, sharp edges that create contact stress when the operator rests on them. Fusing
Fusing operations bind two fabrics together to make them stronger.

Common problems
In-feed. Operators who feed fabric into the fusing ma- chine from a seated position do not have enough knee space, causing them to sit further away from the fuser and reach with a flexed back posture. Standing operators have to carry fabric from the worktable used for organizing fusing materials to the fuser.

Out-feed. Materials are hot when the operator has to pick them up and they have to bend down low to reach them.

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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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