Postural Analysis of a Developing Country’s Municipal Solid Waste Handlers and a Reference Group of Hospital General Hands using the RULA Method

  •  France Ncube    
  •  Esper Jacobeth Ncube    
  •  Kuku Voyi    


BACKGROUND: Municipal solid waste handlers perform various work activities which may contribute to the onset of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMDs). This study conducted a postural analysis of these workers and a reference group of hospital general hands in order to identify unsafe working postures requiring correction. 

METHODS: The Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) methodology was used for postural analysis to 30 municipal solid waste handlers (MSWHs) and a reference group of 30 hospital general hands (HGHs) involved in similar work activities. Field observations and photography were used to collect data. Collected data was analysed using STATA version 13.

RESULTS: The Mann-Whitney test was used to compare the two groups. Results showed significant differences (p < 0.05) for lifting, carrying and emptying activities. For both groups, the mean postural scores for pushing, pulling and standing activities were mainly in the low risk category and not statistically significant (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Results of the present study show unsafe RULA postural scores to MSWHs with regard to lifting, carrying and emptying of refuse bins. Such scores are suggestive of an elevated risk to developing WRMDs in these workers compared to the reference group.

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