WORK PLACE ENVIRONMENT
It is estimated that 80% of the information required in doing a job is perceived visually. Good visibility of equipment, the product and the data in the work process is an essential factor in accelerating production, reducing the number of defective products, preventing visual fatigue.
Visibility depends on a number of factors:
1. The size of the work piece.
2. Its distance from the eyes.
3. The persistence of the mage.
4. The lighting intensity.
5. The color of the work place and contrasts of color and lighting levels with the background.
Lighting should be adapted to the type of work. The level of illumination should be increased not only in relation to the degree of precision but also in relation to the workerâ€™s age. Old people require a higher level of illumination.
Lighting intensity at workplace should be checked periodically and all lighting surfaces should be kept clean. In general the light should be uniformly diffused. Natural lighting should be used wherever possible.
Careful choice of interior color schemes should be made. The glare is discomforting as it produces a feeling of strain. The disability glare causes a reduced ability to see. Both the glares are visual distractions. Planning for visual efficiency should start at an early state of job planning. As a general rule, sunlight is better than artificial light.
Ventilation is a dynamic parameter that complements the concepts of air space i.e. for a given number of workers. The smaller the work premises the more intense should be the ventilation replaces contaminated air by fresh air.
Work place ventilation:
1. Disperses the heat generated by machines and men at work.
2. Dilutes atmosphere contamination.
3. Maintains the feeling of air freshness.
When natural ventilation is inadequate, artificial ventilation has to be used (Blown air system and exhaust system)
Rest pauses or breaks have engaged the attention of research workers. Work measurement techniques previously discussed are a good help. As a rule, the worker should not expend more than 3,200 Kcal /day. Heavy work results in heavy calories expenditure. In good health, physiologists recommend not to exceed 4800 Kcal /day. A day is broken up into time spent in bed, work and non-work. A normal dayâ€™s work takes about 2000K cal; or 5 K cal/minute. The work and rest should be adjusted to accumulation of lactic acid where muscle fatigue sets in. Rest taken at such time remains short. When rate of work exceeds 5 K cal/minute, the work cycle consists of 10 minutes of activity and 7 minutes of rest to have optimum results. The working hours are to be interspersed with pauses, rest periods, tea breaks, meal breaks etc.
Just as in heavy work there is fatigue, in light there is boredom. Jobs are to be redesigned so as to enlarge and enrich them. This leads us to a discussion of behavioral dimensions of job.
Behavioral Dimensions of Job Design
Conventionally, job designs aim at minimizing the costs and maximizing the productivity. Though economic criteria are important in designing jobs, behavioral dimensions also do affect them, and influence performance. Let us therefore discuss the concepts of job enlargement, job enrichment, job rotation and participative job design.
Jobs are a set of tasks. Varied tasks provide varied stimuli auditory, visual and/or tactile. Routine jobs provide few stimuli.
Very specialized jobs become monotonous and lead to job dissatisfaction. Workers are adversely affected there is tardiness, absenteeism and labor turnover. Job enlargement is an answer to such situations. Jobs are enlarged in terms of:
1. Variety of skills.
2. Autonomy to exercise controls over how and when the job is completed.
3. Task identityâ€”opportunity to be responsible for an entire piece or programs of work.
4. Feedbackâ€”opportunity to receive on-line information.
Job enrichment has the above four dimensions. In additions, it stresses the dimension of task significance. Many jobs are highly specialized. Workers do not understand how significant their part of the job is. Tightening a nut allows the automobile to hold its wheel, and result in overall safety. Job enrichment involves re-assigning work-content to make the job more meaningful, more enjoyable. It involves employees in planning, organizing and controlling their work. The information regarding goals/performance expected must be given by the management.