Journal of Ergonomics

Journal of Ergonomics
Open Access

ISSN: 2165-7556


Conditions and Consequences of Involvement of Farm-women in Agriculture and Off-farm Activities in Mountain Region of Uttarakhand

Pratibha Joshi, Nirmal Chandra and Renu Jethi

Women in North Western Himalayan hilly regions carry out most of the agricultural and off-farm activities and are therefore subjected to extra harsh conditions of work that leads to both physical and psychological stress. The work amenities are poor of essential facilities, static postures, dependence on muscular force and strength that make the work too much laborious. Women getting subjected to such work load everyday results in various kinds of disorders and health hazards in them. Considering therefore, the importance of the role played by the women in agriculture, this study was conducted to examine the drudgery involve in farm operations in hill agricultural system. Various field operations were evaluated for analysis of drudgery prone activities. A total of 50 farm women (in the age group of 30-35 years) with random sampling technique were taken for data collection. Data on weeding, fodder cutting and harvesting operations were collected with the help of structured interview schedule. The activities were carried out with 3 replications and time bound for 30 min without rest break for analysis of various research parameters. Human Physical Drudgery Index (HPDI) was calculated for finger millet threshing activity. Results of the investigation show the perceived exertion after agricultural activities ranged from 3.77 to 5.8 on the basis of verbal expression of fatigue and moderate to severe pain in all body parts reported by farm women and also demanded the angle of deviation of normal spinal curve by the activity which are the high risk factor for muscular stresses. HPDI reduced with Millet thresher as compared to manual beating with significant reduction of drudgery with the introduction of mechanized VL millet thresher. The percent increase in heart rate by manual beating of finger millet was 8.78 which were reduced upto 3.64 with Vivek millet thresher cum pearler. The Total Cardiac Cost of Work (TCCW) and Physiological Cost of Work (PCW) were also reduced from 2017.5 to 1517.1 and 134.5 to 101.14 respectively from millet thresher. Millet thresher was developed with optimal design parameters and found ergonomically suitable for reduction of drudgery by reducing physiological ergonomic parameters as TCCW (Total Cardiac Cost of Work), CCW (Cardiac Cost of Work), EER (Energy Expenditure Rate), HR (Heart Rate), Pulse Rate and Blood Lactate Concentrations.