Textiles Industries - Main causes of occupational injury
Manual handling / musculoskeletal injuries
Musculosketal disorders (MSDs) are the largest cause of injury in textiles.
TEXIAC are preparing a set of case studies with practical solutions. These
Case studies will be put on these web pages as examples of best practice. Work will be done with the industry to raise
awareness of the main causes of MSD.
How do you know if you have a problem?
- Injury and health problems show up in different ways, such as:
- cases of injury to backs and limbs
- aches and pains
- poor product quality
- high material waste
- low output
- frequent worker complaints and rest stops
- do-it-yourself improvements to work stations and tools (eg seat padding)
- workers wearing bandages, splints, rub-ons, copper bracelets or magnets.
If you have a problem it will be costing money from sickness absence, high staff turnover, retraining, loss of production
etc. Compensation cases are increasing, and problems may affect your insurance premiums.
Managing the risk
- Identify which tasks present a serious risk of acute injury (eg from lifting) or chronic injury (eg from repetitive
upper body work).
- Assess these tasks in detail to decide what factors lead to the risk
- Introduce mechanisation where this is reasonably practicable, eg powered trucks, conveyors, vacuum lifters, bulk
handling or automation
- Where mechanisation is not possible, introduce measures to prevent injury, eg reduce weights of sacks/boxes to 25kg or below, improve ergonomic design of work stations and work areas, job rotation, training, medical surveillance, job transfer
- Consult fully with trade union safety representatives or other employee representatives and workers to ensure effective
and workable solutions to problems.
Research on MSD arising from 'stand and sew' in the Clothing industry
Research carried out into workstation ergonomics of the 'stand and sew' operation found no evidence to justify
the concern that 'stand and sew' working is worse than 'sit and sew'. In fact the evidence suggested that
'stand and sew' could potentially provide a better working routine than 'sit and sew'.
This is as a result of the movement from one machine to the next, which provides the machinists with a beneficial change
in posture and muscle use. These benefits are lost if the individual remains stood at the same machine throughout the
Also, machinery must be suitable for stand and sew operation, with adequate height adjustment for the working surface
and foot controls. A summary of the research findings is available from HSE Textiles Group in Leeds.
Upper limb disorders