Ergonomic risk assessment – a case study of a garment manufacturing industry

Pakistan is the eighth largest exporter of textiles, and this sector contributes 8.7% to the country's GDP. The garment industry contribution to the total textile-based exports from the country is 47%. Skilled labour is available at relatively cheap rates. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are prevalent in this sector and this research is aimed at finding the levels of risk attached to working activities and to gain knowledge of the major causes of musculoskeletal disorders. The Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) method was used for this purpose. It was found that postures related to the wrist (0–15° or >15° flexion or extension with twist or deviation), lower arm (<60° or >100° flexion) and neck (extension and flexion with twist or side flexed) are the major causes of musculoskeletal disorders. These findings will help in the design of workplaces and working strategies to minimize risk and so increase satisfaction, productivity and overall well-being at the workplace.