Agricultural Ergonomics

Several studies have been undertaken to examine health and safety of the workers in agriculture. Research on the problems of agricultural work force has a precise emphasis to resolve problems of work environment, to alleviate rigors at the workplace and to improve performance ability of the workers.. Emphasis has been given on the principles of ergonomics, i.e., work simplication and workload classification, modification of work methods and manually operated tools and implements.

The farm population was examined with reference to (i) possible changes in working capacity with nutrition, increasing age and organic constitutional differences, (ii) the mean level of energy expenditure during occupational tasks in farming and non-farming seasons, (iii) setting work standards as relative severity of maximal working capacity. About 63% of the total man-hours were occupied by moderately heavy tasks; average working day energy expenditure corresponds to 30 to 40% of maximal work capacity of persons. Based on large number of observations, recommendations arrived at the permissible daily energy output as 4.6 MJ. In summery, the recruitment, selection and placement of labour may be possible based on the work capacity data of the farm workers. A better form of work organisation through the management of human labour may thereby be possible.

Modification of work methods and manually operated tools and implements — attempts were made to simplify manually operated farm tools and implements, by which the physical demand of work may be minimized. Studies were carried out in different types of weeders to remove weeds from dry and wet land, plough for deep and shallow ploughing, serminated seedlings to minimize time requirement of seeding operation, threshing operation either by manual beating or pedal threshing, use of different types of hand tools, including sickle, beater, shovel, etc. A prototype of a ploughing device was designed for better tillage.