The workers of brass metal cottage industry have been unable to avoid occupational health problems in their workplace which is leading them to develop musculoskeletal disorders. It is ultimately affecting their individual performance and productivity. In entire process the kalash polishing operation is most vulnerable. Two workers have to adapt awkward postures for long hours. Moreover as it is interdependent task, if one person takes rest other is compelled also to stop work or continue vice versa. To solve this problem a design intervention was implemented in polishing operation by ergonomic approach. Present tool permit one worker to accomplish polishing operation and eliminates musculoskeletal disorders. It ensures occupational health and safety as well as performance of workers.
The small scale cottage industries in India play a crucial role in rural economy. These bring down rate of unemployment and create income. It strengthens the rural sector and empower nation. Rural areas of India are known for cottage industries like cotton weaving, metal handicrafts, leather, carpet weaving etc. Among all one of the most important and oldest is brass metal handicraft. Some of the products are locally known as Kalash, Thali, Sarai, Ghagori etc. But currently this industry is facing many problems. The field study describes artisan oriented production process consisting of sheet cutting, hammering method, soldering, polishing and making design patterns of Hajo, Assam. The present study revealed that in kalash polishing operation artisans’ individual performance, productivity, occupational health and safety were greatly influenced by conventional hand tools used and awkward postures adopted. In present market no tool was found to solve these problems. In this context the study focused on design intervention of kalash polishing tool by ergonomic approach to promote occupational health and safety of workers. The tool enables the workers to do three distinct operations that are kalash polishing, grinding and carving design pattern. In addition, it improves workers’ individual performance and productivity.The tool has a rigid structure with simple bolt and nut fitting. Pedals incorporated between bearings allows worker to pedal by sitting. A simple pulley system connected to pedals can generate required rotational force depending on need of worker and a free wheel fixed into driven pulley gives the flexibility to the user, even if pedaling stopped the rotation of kalash would not be disturbed. The shape of fixed and movable holders designed such a way that kalash can be perfectly locked (self centering) automatically saving time for polishing. Holders can accommodate different sizes (25 mm, 30 mm, and 35 mm) of kalash. After polishing different design patterns can be carved with same setting. In addition, left side of driven shaft fitted with fine grinding wheel serves to grind the cutting tools time to time and also to help to remove sharp edges of the sheet metal. The other useful features of the tool are, it occupies very little space, portable, no need of electricity, height adjustable, easy to assemble/disassemble, less number of components, follow ergonomic principles, ensure safety of operator, quick troubleshoot, Single tool can perform multiple operations.
Link: Multipurpose User Centered Ergonomic Tool with Automatic Kalash Alignment
Problem Scale: Worldwide