A Framework Designed for Macro-Ergonomical Analysis of Indian Farmers: Assessment and Analysis of Occupational Injuries of Agricultural Farmers of South Odisha in India

A Framework Designed for Macro-Ergonomical Analysis of Indian Farmers: Assessment and Analysis of Occupational Injuries of Agricultural Farmers of South Odisha in India

Debesh Mishra (KIIT University, India) and Suchismita Satapathy (KIIT University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7192-6.ch009


Farming provides food, which is the primary need of each and every person, and also provides employment to farmers. Still it is a non-profitable and neglected occupation. Maximum health injuries are observed during field work due to extreme climates and dusty atmosphere. Use of old hand tools and no availability of modernized tools are the cause of 70% of injuries. Although the farming sector plays a vital role on Indian economy, it remains undeveloped and unattractive. The Indian government is also framing many policies for the farmers (i.e., small/nominal farmers), but farming in states like Odisha remains undeveloped. So, in this chapter, a survey is conducted to find the health-related injuries of farmers of Odisha and then a framework is designed by QFD (quality function deployment) to suggest how to avoid injuries and provide occupational safety measures for farmers.
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Farming sector is a very important but neglected sector all over the world. Day by day man prefers mechanized and comfortable life. So human-civilization is more and more attracted towards the industrial sector. Farming business is an ancient traditional business, but still it is a non-profitable business sector. Occupational safety is a big issue of discussion for agricultural workers. The methods of working in field in extreme climate (heat, rain), the contact with the chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers), the exposure to soil, dust, the contamination due to bacteria, the exposure to animals, cattle’s, injury due to hand tools and musculoskeletal lateral disorders are the most important injuries faced by all agri-workers. Agricultural workers need sufficient precaution and safety measures at the time of field and machine work, such that no physical damage occurs to them. The fatality rate in agriculture is far higher than any other economic sector. A large proportion of all fatal workplace accidents occur in agriculture, even though a small proportion of the workforce is employed in farming. The level of farm accidents is not decreasing. Similar accidents occur each year (Hope, Kelleher, Holmes, & Hennessy, 1999). Most of the agricultural injuries are resulted from the improper selection and use of hand tools. In agricultural sector the traditional hand tools play a major role in performing the farming activities. The conventional hand tools like spade/hoe, sickle, hammer, shovel, knife among others have been used since the ancient though some modifications are found nowadays. As most of the farmers in Odisha, India, are from poor economic background, they usually prefer the conventional hand tools in farming instead of using the developed power operated machineries. The hand tools are mostly used in all farming activities like land preparation, weeding, harvesting of crops for mentioning some. The lack of ergonomic considerations in the design of hand tools and equipment, lack of expertise, lack of the knowledge of safety measures and negligence of farmers and adverse environment may lead to agricultural accidents or injuries (Mishra & Satapathy, 2018). Murphy (1992) has defined farming as the occupation which depends on the farming awareness skill of individual and the capability to do complicated and repetitive jobs. Voaklander et al. (2006) have suggested having all the skills as defined by Murphy (1992), enhance the ability and performance of individuals and also the safety level in the working place. Further it is stated that absence of any of the skill can result in farming injury. Karthikeyan, Veeraragavathatham, Karpagam, and Firdouse (2009) have reported that most of the conventional tools and equipment used in the agricultural sector were manufactured locally by the available materials such as wood, iron or stone, respectively. Moreover, after these nominal farmers of Odisha, the large agri investors also faces several types of respirotary problems due to gas of large machinaries. So India’s Government should frame policies against accidents, frame traing programme and take sufficient safety measures such that injuries of farming sector can be avoided. Advancement of technology to modify tool design can also play an important role to avoid occupational injury for farmers. From the literature review, it was found that several studies have been carried out about the farmers’ injuries across different regions in the world; however still no such study has been done in the state of Odisha particularly. Hence this research presents an attempt that was made to study, collect information and analyze the farmers’ injuries in the South Odisha region in India.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Agricultural Injury: It is the injury that occurs while performing farm work.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD): It is a structured approach to defining customer needs or requirements and translating them into specific plans to produce products to meet those needs.

Ergonomics: It is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products, and systems so that they fit the people who use them.

Voice of Customer: It is the requirements/feedback from the customer (internal or external) to provide the customers with the best in class service/product quality.

Farming: Farming is a part of agriculture. It is the growing of crops or keeping animals by people for food and raw materials.

Injury: Injury is damage to the body caused by external force. This may be caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and other causes.

House of Quality (HOQ): The house of quality is a kind of conceptual map that provides the means for interfunctional planning and communications.

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