Ergonomics is the scientific study of relationship between a person and his/her working environment. The term environment includes his/her tools and materials, his/her method of work, ambient conditions and physical environment of work, and also the organization of work. In most of the developing countries human workers constitute as one of the important sources of farm power. Besides, they also operate animal drawn equipment, tractors, power tillers and self-propelled as well as power operated machines. Therefore, in agriculture, the application of ergonomics can help in increasing the efficiency and thereby productivity of the workers without jeopardizing their health and safety.
Farm mechanization along with increased application of other agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides etc. has enhanced the productivity and production on farms. But on the other hand it has also led to increased casualties and injuries due to accidents while carrying out different agricultural activities. About 6.5% of the power used in crop production and related activities in the country is contributed by about 241 million workers, of which about 42% (i.e. 101 million) are female workers. At present, the agricultural machinery population in the country is estimated at about 150 million, which includes about 3.5 million tractors and other self propelled equipment. In addition, there are more than 400 million hand tools such as pickaxe, spade, hand hoe, sickle etc., which are extensively used by agricultural workers. Thus, the human worker play a major role in country’s agriculture and due attention needs to be given to their capabilities and limitations during design and operation of various farm equipment so as to get higher productivity, enhanced comfort and better safety. Therefore, considering the importance of ergonomics application as well as the vast number of people involved in agriculture, the All India Coordinated Research Project on Ergonomics and Safety in Agriculture (formerly known as AICRP on Human Engineering and Safety in Agriculture) was started by ICAR during the year 1996. The Coordinating Cell of the project is at CIAE Bhopal and there are seven cooperating centres those being located at CIAE Bhopal, TNAU Coimbatore, OUAT Bhubaneswar, PAU Ludhiana, MPUAT Udaipur, NERIST Nirjuli and IIT Kharagpur. Three new centres are being started in XI Plan, those being at Dr. BSKKV Dapoli, CSKHPKV Palampur and CAEPHT Gangtok to address the productivity, comfort, occupational health and safety issues of agricultural workers in hill agriculture and horticulture.
Expected Outputs of AICRP on ESA in XI Plan
AICRP on ESA Cooperating Centres & Contact Persons
- Survey of accidents in Indian agriculture
- Development/ evaluation of safety gadgets for farm machines/ activities
- Technology for enhancing comfort of operators
- Anthropometric and strength data of agricultural workers
- Ergonomically evaluated/ refined farm tools and equipment
- Success story
- Women friendly farm tools and equipment – Evaluated/ refined/ developed
- Training/ FLD programmes/ demonstrations of ergo refined safe farm tools, equipment and machines
- Adoption of Dangerous Machine Regulation Act (DMRA) 1983 and suggestions for its better implementation
- Compensation provisions for agricultural accident victims