Stress at Work in Garment Industry

NIFT, NEW DELHI Stress At Work A Study in Fashion Industry Himanshu Sukhwani, Tusshar Kumar, Vinayak Sharma, Chandan Kumar 9/7/2010 The nature of work is changing at whirlwind speed. Perhaps now more than ever before, job stress poses a threat to the health of workers of garment industries and, in turn, to the health organizations. Contents Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 Stress in the Workplace ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. What are the causes of stress? ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 Psychosocial Work Environment ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 5 Relation between Psychosocial Factors and Job Strain ……………………………………………………………….. 7 Impact of Psychosocial Factors on Job Strain …………………………………………………………………………….. Impact of Job Strain on Operator Health …………………………………………………………………………………… 8 Impact of Operator’s Psychological Factors on Health ………………………………………………………………… 9 Health Issues ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10 Impact of Job Strain on Piece-Rate Operators’ Work Schedules …………………………………………………. 10 Work-life conflict…………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………… 12 Health effects of working hours and work-life conflict ………………………………………………………….. 12 Self-Employed Fashion Professionals and Effort-Reward Imbalance …………………………………………… 13 Drug Abuse in the Fashion Industry ………………………………………………………………………………………… 14 Causes of drug addiction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4 Causes of drug abuse in the modelling industry ……………………………………………………………………. 14 Peer /Social Pressure …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 14 Easy Access…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 14 Loneliness, Depression…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 Anxiety ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 14 Other reasons……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15 Types of drug abuse ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15 Recent cases of Drug Abuse and Mortality …………………………………………………………………………… 5 Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15 References ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16 Occupational Health and Safety in Fashion Industry | 2 Introduction Stress in the Workplace The longer he waited, the more Amit, a sewing machine operator, worried. For weeks he had been plagued by aching muscles, loss of appetite, restless sleep, and a complete sense of exhaustion.

At first he tried to ignore these problems, but eventually he became so short-tempered and irritable that his wife insisted he get a checkup. Now, sitting in the doctor’s office and wondering what the verdict would be, he didn’t even notice when his wife took the seat beside him. They had been good friends when she worked in the front office at the plant, but he hadn’t seen her since she left three years ago to take a job as a customer service representative. Her gentle poke in the ribs brought him around, and within minutes they were talking and gossiping as if she had never left. “You got out just in time,” he told her. Since the reorganization, nobody feels safe. It used to be that as long as you did your work, you had a job. That’s not for sure anymore. They expect the same production rates even though two guys are now doing the work of three. We’re so backed up I’m working twelve-hour shifts six days a week. I swear I hear those machines humming in my sleep. Guys are calling in sick just to get a break. Morale is so bad they’re talking about bringing in some consultants to figure out a better way to get the job done. ” “Well, I really miss you guys,” she said. “I’m afraid I jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

In my new job, the computer routes the calls and they never stop. I even have to schedule my bathroom breaks. All I hear the whole day are complaints from unhappy customers. I try to be helpful and sympathetic, but I can’t promise anything without getting my boss’s approval. Most of the time I’m caught between what the customers want and company policy. I’m not sure who I’m supposed to keep happy. The other reps are so uptight and tense they don’t even talk to one another. We all go to our own little cubicles and stay there until quitting time. To make matters worse, my mother’s health is deteriorating.

If only I could use some of my sick time to look after her. No wonder I’m in here with migraine headaches and high blood pressure. A lot of the reps are seeing the employee assistance counsellor and taking stress management classes, which seems to help. But sooner or later, someone will have to make some changes in the way the place is run. ” The above case is not a rare case in today’s fast paced, competitive manufacturing industry. Most of the employees undergo a high stress to perform and deliver. Moreover, the performance based incentive schemes employed by the management constantly keep the stress levels to an all time high.

This affects the lives of the employees. The garment industry, specifically, is plagued by problems arising due to stress levels at work. The whole supply chain of the industry is quite inflexible and this puts a high level of stress on the workers. For example, here is an excerpt from an interview with a sewing machine operator: (Hespian, 2008) My name is Asma. I work as a sewing machine operator in Bangladesh. By the end of the day, my leg gets so tired that I cannot press down on the foot pedal. I know that pressing the foot pedal all day is hurting my leg, but it is the only way to run my machine.

Some of my co-workers have been hurt so badly that they cannot sew after working for 4 or 5 years. Sometimes their injuries are so bad they cannot work at all. The work is just too hard. My family needs the money I am earning now, but the work is hurting me. Occupational Health and Safety in Fashion Industry | 3 What are the causes of stress? A ‘good job’ usually involves a measure of positive stimuli, which encourages the worker to perform well and gain job satisfaction as a result – this is not stress. Many jobs involve negative factors that put unwanted pressure (stress) on the worker, leading to adverse consequences.

Stress is not a disease or injury in itself, but can lead to mental and physical ill health, and can also be a factor in workplace accidents. Many work factors can be identified as potential causes of stress, or stressors and most can be divided into three areas: 1. Working conditions 2. Doing the job 3. Work relationships Working conditions Too hot or too cold Too noisy Poor equipment / work station Inadequate security Poor lighting Overcrowding Doing the job Excessive workload or long hours Boring or repetitive work Deadline pressures Too little training or support Confusion over, or too

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