Sarasvathi. V

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The physical aspects of a workplace environment can have a direct impact on the productivity, health and safety, comfort, concentration, job satisfaction and morale of the people within it. On the one hand, social and cultural factors, which affect the work system, are assigned to the work environment. On the other hand, the term ‘‘environment” means, the spatially surrounding fields namely physical and chemical and in addition, biological. The physical – chemical work environment can be differentiated according to the kind of influences it has on the working person. On the basis of the fact that individual work environment factors rarely appear isolated, but in combination with each other a considerable effects is only permissible for the entire environment factors in combo with the work specific types of stress. So far these inter – relationship has remained widely unexplored, that in practice the consideration of effects for each individual variable of stress seems appropriate. A condition for the measurement of the environmental influences is a realization of the physical and chemical, and (with noise, climate, and lighting) the physiological variables and regularities. If these scientific fundamentals are well – known, the quantitative value of individual environment variables can be identified with the help of specific measuring methods and devices.


Environmental Parameters – Affecting Work Efficiency


Every work place presents its own, distinctive stress factors. The following are the major recognized stress factors in the workplace.

  • Complexity and number of tools used in the workplace
  •  Unnatural environmental conditions[eg., Thermal, noise, vibration, illumination, toxic materials etc.,]
  • Physical and mental workload

Occupational factors affecting the worker:


o   Environmental conditions[eg., temperature, illumination and noise] of the workplace

o   The physical and mental requirement of the job

o   The worker`s exposure to hazardous materials

o   The interaction between the worker and the work equipment


The milieu in which a worker executes his job has a big control on the efficiency and the strain the worker obtain while performing the activity. Even the most enhanced work technique is not going to help if the work place has inadequate lights, smoke and fumes, dirty and agonizing noise. Working conditions are those which surround the worker which affect the physical well-being and efficiency. It includes


Ø  Lighting

Ø   Ventilation

Ø   Temperature control and air conditioning

Ø   Noise and vibrations

Ø   Colour


Awful working environment can amplify the strain, decrease effectiveness, low output. Thereby to attain enhanced results – relate work study to change the working conditions. So there is a need for recuperating working conditions, which can be amplified by


ü   Safety improvement

ü   Diminish absenteeism and delay

ü   Advance their job presentation

ü   Diminish fatigue[physical burden]

ü   Decrease mental encumber

ü   Perk up efficiency

ü   Elevate employee self-esteem

ü   Improve public relations addition to increase production


The above mentioned factors enlightens on the need for recuperating effective conditions:


ð  Ample lighting

ð   Controlled temperature

ð   Prerequisite of sufficient ventilation

ð   No redundant sound- noise

ð   Neatness, hygiene, good house keeping

ð  Immediate removal of annoying and injurious dusts, smoke, gases, fumes and fogs

ð   Special protective equipment

ð   Sponsoring and implement a well-formulated first aid programme


(A) Lighting Most significant environmental factors is Lighting, It increases the productivity, reduces mishap and affix to employee satisfaction


Advantages of Good Lighting

  1.  Improved output, therefore diminish costs
  2. Less accident
  3. Increased product quality
  4. Good visibility
  5. Less spoilage and the strain on the eyes are reduced
  6. Floor space utilization is good and house- keeping can be improved
  7. Hygiene and sanitation can be better preserved
  8.  Easier and improved supervision of resources in process and in finished products, and
  9. Enhanced morale among employees consequential reduced employment turnover

Characteristics of Good Lighting

  • Light should be of sufficient intensity for the particular operation being performed.
  • Light should be equally bright throughout the shop floor
  • Light should be diffused and not glaring
  • There should be adequate but not sharp contrast between each part of an object and from the surrounding background
  • Light should not permit marked shadows
  • Dazzling light should be avoided

Nature of Light


1.   Natural light in reality is the paramount for one to work, but has a variance with the time period-like day, year, weather and condition. The size and positions windows also has a major role in this, moreover it is just not possible to adjust the intensity of natural lighting. This warrants the need for the use of artificial lighting


2.   Artificial lighting is planned for an interior is in such a way that it should complement the natural lighting. Artificial lighting, during day time caters only to those areas that requires light.


Artificial Light Sources are varied in its kind, of which the prime one include


1.      Tungsten filament lamps

2.      Fluorescent tubes, and

3.      Mercury vapour lamps


Tungsten filament lamps are inexpensive, easy to set up and with different wattage ranges. It possess low rate of efficiency, and requires shielding so that glare is eliminated. Thus this lighting is used only for local lighting. Fluorescent lamps and tubes are now replacing filament lamps.


Fluorescent lamps and tubes best competence rate and are in very regularly used in factories. Their current utilization is a lesser amount when compared with the other lights and they have a low brightness rating with life span longer, with number of colour options Major disadvantage being stroboscopic effect when looking at rotating parts of an object and can cause maintenance issues as they are being used in large number even in average installation.


Mercury vapour lamps have a high intensity, with ease of maintenance and have long life span. The greenish blue light of the lamps produces an unnatural look. Mercury vapour lamps are available only in large or shops, hangers, and in high bays as they are commonly used for industrial general lighting purpose.


Reflectors may be employed for getting direct diffused or indirect light


Levels of Illumination


The unit used to measure the intensity of illumination is the lumen, 1 lumen/ft2 being equal to a foot candle.


Recommended standards of illumination for different types of work are given below




When light is transmitted or reflected in such a way that an unpleasant affects the eye, fatigue is increased and attention distracted, the cause is usually known to be glare. Direct glare comes from unshaded part of insufficient shaded lamps shining directly in the line of vision, reflected glare from a bright light falling on a polished surface from which it is reflected into the eye.


The eye must constantly readjust if self to the brightness and the darkness, and fatigue results, The level of general illumination should not be less than 1/10 of the foot candles supplied by local fixture, and a ratio of 1 to 5 more desirable.


(B) Ventilation:


The process of ventilation is basically swaps stale air (of the factory building) by fresh air. The concentration of carbon-dioxide, humidity and the temperature will rise and smells bad, if the stale air is not removed. Disagreeable fumes, gases, dusts, and odours tends to cause fatigue which in turn reduces the physical efficiency and increases the mental tension for the worker. Studies have proven that poor ventilation is associated with air movements as well as with temperature and humidity and can lead to the depression. Ability of the body to dissipate heat gets reduced when humidity increases, and the evaporative cooling decreases rapidly. Working under such situation can cause high heart rates, high body temperatures and possibilities of slow recovery to after work results. Modern technology of introducing greenery within the work premises have evidently proved that plants provide ample ventilation by increasing the number of air changes per hour.


Endowing methods to ventilation


(i)   More exposure to natural ventilation through windows and roof or wall ventilators.

(ii)    Providing mechanical ventilation, through exhaust fans from the factory building along with natural ventilation from doors and windows


(C) Temperature Control and Air Conditioning


Both very high and very low temperatures make workers feel fall ill, thereby adversely affecting their performance efficiency and reducing both production and productivity. The normal human body maintains a constant temperature of about 98 F. Large amounts of perspiration evaporate from the skin, when the body is exposed to high temperatures. During this process, sodium chloride is carried through the pores of the skin and a residual layer forms when evaporation takes place. This direct loss creates a disturbance in normal balance of body fluids, resulting in heat fatigue and heat cramps, that tends to slow down the efficiency and productivity and thereby there is also an increase in the work error. Extremes of climate like undue cold can also bring about losses in production sequence, as heavy clothes worn for self-defence itself can reduce the speed of work due to its heaviness. Accumulation of sweat in the clothing can be a problematic one to the worker as he experiences a feel of freezes or cold. The solution to such situation can be change of the wet clothing. Ample temperature to be maintained is between 650 and 75 0 all round the year, this temperature level brings down the losses and slowdowns that is experienced due to heat fatigue, het cramps and lack of manipulative dexterity .




Controlling the air temperature, humidity, cleanliness and distribution air is Air-conditioning. Heating and cooling of the air in winter and in summer respectively is done by the means of temperature control. Heat may be produced from a central heating plant by means of hot water or steam as a heating medium. Piping the coolant from a centralised compressor plant to local areas where air is run through the coils leads to cooling. Installation of Self-contained air-conditioners directly into the rooms can bring about cool atmosphere.

Humidity of the air is attuned by addition of moisture to it in winter and by elimination of moisture from the moist summer air


Foreign materials such as dust, etc is cleaned from the Air by


1.  Through a spray of water air is forced through.

2.  Use of filters to cleanse the Air and

3.  Electrostatic precipitation


Proper positioning of incoming air ducts and exhaust outlets leads to Air motion Chemical removal of Odours and Bacteria in air Purpose of Air-conditioning in the buildings are


1.  Meticulous measurement errors due to expansion of instrument parts can be avoided.

2.  Workability can be enhanced as in tobacco and textile industries

3.  Quality of workmanship is also promoted.

4.  To curtail the deterioration of perishable and non perishable materials such as meats, fruits, vegetables, certain oils and chemicals

5. Employee’s efficiency can be enhanced by reducing fatigue which helps to maintain workers morale and creates good public relations

6.  Product quality and output can be improvised.

7.  Corrosion and deterioration of certain materials can be brought to minimal.

8.Safe guarding the workers from occupational hazards like harmful dust (silica dust), smoke and poisonous gases

9.  Better psychological atmosphere and hygienic surrounding can be promoted


(D) Noise and vibrations


Worker fatigues easily in a surrounding where both loud and boring sound are prevailing. Constant and intermittent noise also is liable to kindle the worker psychologically, leading to loss of temper and difficulty in doing precision of work.


Clashes and poor conduct on the part of workers can often be attributed to disturbing noises. Tests have proven that irritating noise levels heighten the and blood pressure and result in irregularities in heart rhythm


Hence noise affects Job performance


Health of employees, and Employees morale


Noise control, means diminish undesirable noises to decrease mental fatigue of the workers (resulting) accidents and industrial deafness


Most industrial manoeuvre are deafening. Noise is injurious to human beings and it can turn out to be a health hazard. Irregular noise is occasionally more damaging than the constant noise. Noise can cause loss of hearing in human beings Noise distracts the attention and concentration of workers. Noise causes annoyance thereby affecting the mind


Noise may be controlled:


(i)   By proper machine lubrication, maintenance, padding and by providing noise mufflers

(ii)   Using noise absorbers

(iii)   Improving work place layout

(iv)   Isolating noise sources from the work place.

(v) Redesigning the plant for better acoustical properties.




Machines are usually constructed of localized masses, each of which contains moving parts. Because of the extensive range of feed and swiftness combinations of the moving parts machines do not constantly move at the same velocity; moreover the machine configuration is subjected to forces in diverse directions. As a result the machine commences to vibrate.


Vibrations are objectionable for numerous rationales. After extensive periods, vibration can source to structural fatigue and eventual failure of mechanical systems. Vibrations lead to annoyance and disturbance. Sound radiation and airborne noiseare the results of vibrations.


The vibrations may be curtailed by


1)      Machine foundations are separated from adjoining floors.

2)      Designing machine foundations are not laid by rule of thumb, but using an accepted criterion

3)      Balancing the machines dynamically and properly

4)      General working area is far away from the vibration producing machines such as hammers presses etc.,

5)      Vibration absorbers and impact dampers etc are used.

6)      Springs, rubber or felt etc are used to mount the machines.


Vibrations can cause detrimental effects on human performance. Vibrations of high amplitude and low frequency have especially undesirable effects on body organs and tissue. The parameters of vibrations are: frequency, amplitude velocity, acceleration and jerk

There are three classifications of exposure to vibration


(i) Circumstances in which the whole or a major portion of the body surface is affected, for example, when high-intensity sound in air or water excites vibration

(ii) Cases in which vibrations are transmitted to the body through a supporting area; for example through the feet of a man standing by a shakeout facility in a foundry

(iii)Instances in which vibrations are applied to a localized body area, for example, to the hand when a power tool is being operated


The two above has the greatest effects on working efficiency and on the health, safety and comfort of the working force. Various parts of the body resonate at specific frequencies, causing disturbance. Moreover, human tolerance of vibration decreases as the exposure time increases.


Types and effects of vibration:


Whole Body Vibration (WBV) are the basis for the poorly designed or poorly maintained vehicles, platforms or machinery that can cause or exacerbate other health problems such as:

  • Lower back pain (damage to vertebrae and discs, ligaments loosened from shaking)
  • Motion sickness
  • Damages to the bone
  • Varicose veins/heart conditions (variation in blood pressure from vibration);
  • Stomach and digestive conditions;
  • Changes in the respiratory, endocrine and metabolic system
  • Vision impairment, balance or both;
  • Damage of the reproductive organ.

Risk of health and muscular disorders would be greater if a worker is exposed to WBV longer duration.


Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) use of hand held tools such as pneumatic tools (eg concrete breakers), chainsaws, and grinders etc., for a long term leads to a range of conditions and diseases, including:

  • White finger (also known as “dead finger” ) – damage to hands causing whiteness and pain in the fingers;
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome (and other symptoms similar to occupational overuse syndrome);
  • Sensory nerve damage;
  • Muscle and joint damage in the hands and arms (eg ‘tennis elbow’)

These conditions and diseases can have very grim cost on the people. The effects can be enduringly disabling even after a few years of uncontrolled exposure. Workers may be protected against vibration in several ways


(1)   The applied forces responsible for initiating the vibration may be reduced

(2)   The body position may be altered so as to result in a lessening of the disturbing vibratory forces


Supports may be introduced that will cushion the body and thus damp higher amplitude vibrations. Seat suspension systems involving hydraulic shock absorbers, coil or leaf springs, rubber mountings or torsion bars may be used


E. Colour


Colour derives from the spectrum of light (distribution of light power versus wavelength) interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors. Colour categories and physical specifications of colour are also associated with objects or materials based on their physical properties such as light absorption, reflection, or emission spectra. By defining a colour space, colours can be identified numerically by their coordinates. Colour plays a vitally important role in the world in which use line. Colour can sway thinking, change actions and cause reaction. It can smooth your vision, raise blood pressure. Colour is irreplaceable and sends universal message like ‘RED’ means ‘stop’ in traffic signal.


Use of colour:

  • Use colour to speed visual search
  • Use colour to improve object recognition
  •  Colour to enhance meaning
  •  Colour to convey structure
  •  Use colour to establish identity
  •  Use colour for symbolism
  •  Use colour to improve usability
  •  Colour to communicate mood
  •  Use colour to snow association
  • Use colour to express metaphors


Light and color can manipulate how people recognize the area around them. Different light sources influence how the colors of walls and other objects are witnessed. Specific hues of colors seen under sunlight may differ, when the same is seen under the light from an incandescent (tungsten) light-bulb. Lighter colors may emerge to be more orange or “brownish” and darker colors may come out even darker. Light and the color of an object can influence how one perceives its place. If light or shadow, or the color of the object, camouflage an object’s true outline, it can appear to be created in a different way from the reality. Objects under a consistent light-source will endorse better impression of three-dimensional shape. The color of an object may have an effect on whether or not it seems to be in motion. In particular, the course of objects under a light source whose intensity varies with space is trickier to determine than the identical objects under a uniform light source. This could possibly be understood as interference between motion and color perception, both of which are more difficult under variable lighting.


The efficiency and productivity of a work environment is directly affected by the worker’s surroundings. Different colours spark different feelings and moods and the way the colour are used can also act as a tool to help with certain work – related tasks or challenges. The best colours for the work environment might not be best for everyone.


Warm colours (red, orange, yellow) evoke excitement and energy. These are good to use in small doses, because they make a big impact.


A cool colour (blue and green) promotes focus. Blue is calm and smoothing, but if you tent to get sleepy in the work area, you should avoid blue – green colours support attention and memory attainment the best. If you need help focusing, green might help with that.


Neutral colours (tan, beige, gray, white, cream) suggest stability and creditability. Neutral colours are usually used as the base of the colour scheme and accent colours are used with them to create more interest in the colour scheme.




Factors of workplace environment play an important role towards the employees’ performance. The factors of workplace environment give an immense impact to the employees’ either towards the negative outcomes or the positive outcomes.According to Boles et al. (2004), when the employees’ are physically and emotionally have the desire to work, then their performance outcomes shall be increased. Moreover, they also stated that by having a proper workplace environment, it helps in reducing the number of absenteeism and thus can increase the employees’ performance which will leads to the increasing number of productivity at the workplace.




Web links


  • https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/aesthetic
  • https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropometry
  • www.dictionary.com/browse/biomechanics
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetics
  • https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/ergonomics
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazard
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/musculoskeletal-disorders
  • https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/physiology