Ergonomic study on the manual harvesting tasks of oil-palm plantation in Indonesia based on anthropometric, postures and work motions analyses
Keywords:anthropometry, motion, posture, harvesting task, oil-palm
Harvesting is the most important but burdensome work in oil-palm industries in which done manually by human power and skill. This research deals with analyses of anthropometry, work motion and posture on the harvesting tasks in the aims to understand ergonomic risks associated with the tasks and intervention needed in order to minimize the risks. A set of forty-two anthropometric dimensions and video records of work-motions were collected from a total sample of 141 male harvesting-workers from three different regions in Sumatera, Kalimantan and Sulawesi islands of Indonesia. The stature, height of eye and shoulder, and the length of arms were observed as the most relevant and critical anthropometry in designing the harvesting task and tool; and the height of the palm tree should be fully considered as well. Motion analysis revealed that the push-cutting technique with a “dodos” (a chisel-like) tool effectively applied to harvest fresh fruit bunch (FFB) which height is less than 3 m, while the pull-cutting technique with an ‘egrek’ (a sickle-like) tool is the only applicable way to harvest FFB taller than 3 m.
The upper body segments such as neck, shoulder, back and arms were ergonomically vulnerable in most cases of the harvesting tasks. The results of RULA revealed that the work postures are outside safe ranges and further investigation and changes are required immediately. Finally, the results of work motion simulations could formulate tasking procedures that may minimize awkward posture and MSD risk.