Assessement of employees' awareness of exercise ergonomics in banking institutions in Nairobi, Kenya
Waiganjo, Luka Boro
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Most companies and institutions world over have embraced the use of computers at their places of work as a means of improving efficiency and productivity. The banking institutions have not been left out in this regard. As such, most of banking office work involves computer operations that are characterized by fast and frequently repetitive movement of the eyes, arms, fingers and the head. These movements involve repetitive muscular activity which could lead to the development of physiological stress manifested as fatigue due to lack of avenues to burst it out as it forms. Accumulation of fatigue may lead to the development of musculoskeletal injuries among the employees which can cause reduction in comfort, efficiency and hence production. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate into Kenyan bank employees' awareness of the work-related risk factors that might expose them to musculoskeletal injury in the course of their duties, if they had suffered any musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses, and whether they usually perform stretching exercises in the course of their work. It was hypothesized that there would be no significant differences according to gender and position of work in relation to the above mentioned factors. The subjects for the study included tellers, secretaries, clerks, and officers in banking institutions in Nairobi. For this purpose, 5 banks (National bank, Cooperative bank, Equity bank, Kenya Commercial bank and Family Finance) consisting of 1,500 employees were purposively selected. Stratified random sampling was used to sample 17 bank branches. 450 employees were then selected randomly for the study. Questionnaires were administered to the bank employees to collect information related to the employees' awareness of the work-related risk factors, work-related injuries and illnesses and the use of exercise to alleviate such injuries. Both qualitative and Quantitative methods of data analysis were utilized to analyze the data. Chi-square at p <_ 0.05 was computed to test the research hypothesis. The findings of the study showed that a majority of the bank employees (51.40%) were not aware of the work-related risk factors, (47.98%) of the employees were not aware of the applicability of ergonomic exercises in the banking institutions, 128 (39.88%) were not aware of the role of ergonomic exercises in alleviating MSI, while more than (63.86%) suffered from various musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses. The male (43.61%) were significantly (X2 =74.83, p=0.01) more aware of the risk factors than the female (39.50%) bank employees. The female (41.32%) were significantly (X2= 54.02, p=0.01) more aware of the applicability of ergonomic exercises at the work places as well as their role in preventing MSI (67; 40.11%, X2=15.76, p=0.01) than the male. The various cadres of employees differed significantly in awareness of work-related risk-factors (X2=36.98, p=0.05), the applicability of exercises in work places (X2=16.90, p=0.194), and the efficacy of exercise in alleviating MS, (X2=16.43, p=0.01). In addition they differed in prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries (X2=124, p=0.01).