Isometric muscular strength data of Indian agricultural workers for equipment design: Critical analysis
Keywords:Ergonomics, Muscular strength, Tools and equipment, Agricultural workers, India
Abstract: Human muscular strength is extensively used in Indian agriculture for operating various push-pull type farm tools and equipment. Incompatibility between operators’ physical capabilities (anthropometric and biomechanical) and demands of physical task to operate tools/equipment often leads to poor performance, low productivity and safety problems. Although anthropometric data are generally being considered, an inadvertent negligence of using strength database for agricultural tools/equipment design is very common in developing countries like India. Therefore, in present paper an attempt has been made to statistically analyze available strength data (pooled and regional/state wise data) of male and female Indian agricultural workers to understand nature of variability of those data in terms of difference between pooled Indian data vs. individual state data; difference between male vs. female data across various states of India; and for determining safe operational force limits for handling various agricultural tools/equipment. Critical evaluation of male and female strength data revealed that there are significant differences (p<0.01 or p<0.05) between mean values of pooled Indian data vs. individual state data for almost all strength variables under study. It has also been observed that average muscular strength of female is significantly lower (in general 2/3rd of male) than their male counter parts across all states. Thus, present study concluded that regional variations and gender variation of isometric strength data are crucial ergonomic consideration for using percentile strength data during calculation of operational force limits for designing various agricultural tools/equipment to be used by targeted user populations from various parts of a country like India with huge ethnic diversity.
Keywords: ergonomics, muscular strength, tools and equipment, agricultural workers, India