Journal of Ergonomics

Journal of Ergonomics
Open Access

ISSN: 2165-7556


An Ergonomics Approach towards Efficient and Productive Maintenance of Fluidized Bed Heat Exchangers (FBHEs) (Morupule B Power Station)

Badziili Nthubu

Background: Musculoskeletal disorders have been identified as one of the most costly and demanding illnesses across the world amongst the working population, with labour intensive industries largely affected. The situation is appalling in developing nations wherein there is high demand for energy and yet has limited energy systems and expertise to produce clean energy. Moreover, there is often a distressing lack of awareness on ergonomic issues, education and training initiatives. Erudite fellows have undertaken similar studies with reference to MSDs in power stations around the world and provided possible remedies. However, this study focused on the circulating fluidised bed boiler technology installed with fluidized bed heat exchangers (FBHEs). Since the commissioning of Morupule B power plant 4*150 mw units, the fluidized bed heat exchangers (FBHEs) proved to be a regular stop point for maintenance and operations team, hence a high ergonomic risk area for everyone working at the area.
Methods: A Modified Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire was chosen and used to examine the extend at which the Morupule B power plant employees are affected by their daily work. In addition to that, the job and environment analysis questionnaire was administered as well to evaluate their work load, management system, work area, vibrations and sound and lastly an anthropometric survey was conducted on employees directly working at the FBHEs. These set of surveys were administered to 257 employees at Morupule B power station. All participants answered the questions and the data was evaluated with SPSS 18 software.
Results: The prevalence of MSDs are high amongst main plant workers especially Auxiliary Plant Operators (APO) and labourers at Morupule B power plant on almost all body parts listed on the Nordic Questionnaire i.e. neck, shoulders, hands, back, and knees.
Conclusion: MSDs occurred at an alarming rate within the lower cadre workers working at the FBHEs.