Final Report of Minor Research Project


Ergonomic Study of Musculoskeletal and Postural Problems among Residential Building Sweepers”

Principal Investigator

Mrs. Hemani Malhotra

Assistant Professor

Department of Resource Management

Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science (Autonomous),

S.N.D.T Women’s University,

Juhu Tara Road, Santacruz (West),

Mumbai 400049.


2015 - 2017

Submitted to

University Grants Commission

Western Regional Office

Ganeshkhind, Pune - 411007


Introduction: Sweeper has been dedicating their lives for cleaning of our community but the community has isolated them in terms of socio-economical and mental aspect from the main stream community. Sweepers is the vulnerable segment of our community and suffering from different occupational health problems due to limited education, lack of knowledge on occupational health hazards. This activity is performed manually involving variety of awkward postures without taking much of precautionary measures which leads to various postural problems among sweepers. Previous studies have been conducted on street sweepers, solid waste collectors, but none of the studies have been reported on residential sweepers. Hence it was thought essential to study this group to see if they face the similar problems.

Objectives: The main aim of the study was to know the activities performed by the residential sweepers, the postures adopted while performing these activities and to assess the MSD’s and other health-related problems.

Methodology: To achieve the objectives of the study 60 males and 60 females working as residential sweepers having more than 5 years of experience were selected for the study. A questionnaire was used as an interview schedule to gather personal and job- related information from the subjects after having informed consent from them. OWAS postural analysis method was used to assess postures adopted at work and Nordic Questionnaire to know about the musculoskeletal problems experienced by the sweepers.

Results & Discussions: The results revealed that the prevalence of MSD’s was higher among females even though not significantly higher than males. Majority of the female sweepers complaint of entire body pain along with 93.33%, 91.67%, 85% and 83.33% reporting pain in arm, shoulder, hand/wrist and low back respectively whereas 91.67% male sweepers experienced pain in shoulder, 83.33% in arm, 76.67% in hand/wrist and 48.33% in upper back while. The overall pain and intensity of pain experienced by the sweepers was much more pronounced in females than the male counterpart though the intensity of pain was not significantly higher. The frequency of pain on a daily and weekly basis was more among female sweepers whereas pain on a monthly basis was higher among male sweepers. The results of intensity of pain showed that male sweepers complaint of moderate pain 51.67%; 50%; and 28.33% in hand/ wrist, arm, upper back respectively; whereas 21.67% complaint of

severe pain in the shoulder. In case of female sweepers 61.67%; 58.33% and 46.67% complaint of moderate pain in the shoulder, arm and hand and 31.67% complaint of severe pain in the lower back and hand/wrist. Results of OWAS revealed that among the various postures assumed; the postures adopted while putting the garbage in bin was risky; that needed urgent attention and corrective measures to prevent the further deterioration. Results also showed that sweepers were addicted to gutka, tobacco and smoking which affect the health adversely and were also engaged in other paid jobs other than daily sweeping activity.

Conclusion: It is evident that workers suffer from MSD’s and postural discomfort; hence some major ergonomic guidelines on posture, safety and preventive measures and periodic medical check-up of the workers is essential and intervention to improve the working tools and conditions needs to be implemented at the earliest.