Effect of MSDs and scope of ergonomic interventions among rubber processing workers: a systematic review


  • Abi Varghese Industrial Engineering Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Calicut, Kerala, India
  • Vinay V Panicker Industrial Engineering Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Calicut, Kerala, India




Agriculture, Ergonomics, Musculoskeletal disorders, Rubber processing workers


Background: The rubber processing workers experience various types of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) due to awkward postures, repetitive movements, and manual loads etc. Research on MSDs and ergonomic interventions in this area is limited. Therefore, the present systematic review aims to (i) identify various operations done by rubber processing workers and their associated MSDs, (ii) explore the ergonomic intervention and post-intervention study and its impact among the workers, (iii) identify the research gaps in MSDs and ergonomic interventions through bibliometric analysis. Methods: Comprehensive electronic searches were conducted in Web of Science, ScienceDirect and PubMed for the search term “Ergonomics” or “Musculoskeletal disorder” and “Rubber” for the article published before 2020. Eleven papers were identified for the review of MSDs and ergonomic interventions; data were extracted to summarize sample size, data collection methods, analyzing tools, various operations, MSDs, and ergonomic interventions. Results: The reviewed article is classified according to various operations such as rubber tapping, latex collection, rubber sheeting and sheet pressing. The review reveals that most of the workers experience lower back pain, which involved a traditional way of operating. Every author is trying to recommend some interventions, but post-intervention studies are limited. Conclusions: Due to the limited post-intervention study, there is a scope of ergonomic interventions in every operation. So, the implementation of a proper ergonomic tool with adequate awareness improves the MSDs among the rubber processing workers. The review will help to identify the various intervention gaps in different operations associated with rubber farming.


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