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Monday, August 13, 2012

Human Factors and Ergonomics in India



The BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are projected to be the world’s largest and most influential countries by 2050. Undoubtedly, as these countries undergo advancements, several domains/industries would benefit from the application of human factors and ergonomics principles.

Agriculture has been the backbone of Indian economy and hence it was not surprising when I came across a paper written by Saran in 1968, which discussed the design of a grain harvester for agricultural work in India. Rather than imposing a design that required altering the working position and habits of the Indian farmer, a design that incorporated the habits and usage patterns of the Indian farmer are described in this paper.

Nearly four decades after Saran published his paper, Mukhopadhyay (2006) describes the state of ergonomics in India. He discusses how ergonomics can be applied to various industries such as:
  • Crafts (e.g., pottery making, jewellery making)
  • Agricultural tasks (e.g., harvesting, sowing)
  • Non-motorized transportation (e.g., rickshaws)

Mukhopadhyay discusses how successful ergonomic interventions in India would require raising awareness about ergonomics to the rural people.

How can we forget India’s IT sector? The operators working long shifts in the call centers to the software developers working on projects outsourced from other countries, the Indian IT industry would benefit from various human factors and ergonomic interventions. 

Last but not the least, increasing consumerism in India also offers a plethora of opportunities for human factors and ergonomics research, that would take into account the unique needs of this market.

Photo credit: Rdglobetrekker via Wikimedia Commons.

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