The development of an industrial air pollution monitoring system for safety and health enhancement and a sustainable work environment using QFD approach

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  • The development of an industrialair pollution monitoring systemfor safetyandhealth enhancement

    and a sustainable workenvironment using QFD approach

    A.M. LemanFaculty of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering,

    Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), Batu Pahat, Malaysia

    A.R. OmarFaculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UITM),

    Shah Alam, Malaysia

    Won JungDepartment of Automotive, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering,College of Engineering, Reliability Technology Research Centre,

    Daegu University, Gyeongsan, South Korea, and

    M.Z.M. YusofFaculty of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering,

    Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), Batu Pahat, Malaysia


    Purpose This paper aims to develop of an industrial air pollution monitoring system (IAPMOS) asone of the target solutions for monitoring mechanisms in the workplace.

    Design/methodology/approach Quality function deployment approaches were used in thisstudy. The process of getting data from workers was by using questionnaires. The questionnaireregarding the welding process work environment was given to two selected automotive industrieslocated in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.

    Findings From the data, the system development was analysed in order to formalize the specificneeds of workers and management. The preliminary data were discussed regarding the developmentprocess and reliability factors that influenced the IAPMOS. The voice of the customer was then inputduring the design stage of IAPMOS.

    Research limitations/implications The monitoring of industrial air pollution which was done inthe welding process used a direct reading method and the date was assigned as base line duringsystem development. The standards International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001: 2008,ISO 14001: 2008, and the Malaysia Standard, MS 1722: 2003 were the major sources helping to improvethe working environments. The working environment is important to productivity and has a directimpact on human intervention.

    Social implications Poor working environments will give a negative impact and an uncondusivework environment will create a potential health hazard and less productivity.

    Originality/value The paper provides information to aid in improving workplace environment.

    Keywords Quality function deployment, Workplace, Air pollution, Occupational health and safety

    Paper type Case study

    The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at

    Developmentof a monitoring



    The Asian Journal on QualityVol. 11 No. 2, 2010

    pp. 165-182q Emerald Group Publishing Limited

    1598-2688DOI 10.1108/15982681011075970

  • 1. IntroductionMalaysia is a developing country and the manufacturing sector forms the largest singlecomponent of Malaysias economy (DOS, 2005). The demand on the manufacturingsector has increased consistently due to Malaysias efforts in becoming an industrializedcountry by 2020. According to the small and medium industries (SMIs) developmentcorporation, the majority of the SMIs were involved mainly in several industrial sectorssuch as manufacturing, agriculture, mining, services, and construction. The statisticsshowed that the manufacturing sector has high potential in developing Malaysiaseconomy. SMIs are one of the parties which contributed to the growth of themanufacturing sector. Currently, the SMIs constitute approximately 84 percent of themanufacturing establishments in Malaysia.

    Although Malaysian industries growths are rapid and their expansion is fast, theystill face challenges that influence their competitiveness. These challenges concernoccupational safety and health (OSH) management systems. Malaysian industries arefacing the challenges of OSH awareness in the workplace. The occurrences ofindustrial accidents and the unconducive work environment reported show the factorsthat influence the evidence.

    1.1 Safety and health awareness in the workplace and industrial accidents occurrenceOSH provides a conducive working environment to safety and health in the workplace.Reasonable precautionary steps are taken so as to ensure that workers are preventedfrom injury or health hazard due to work activities being carried out. It requires thecommitment of the proprietor or owner to ensure the following three conditions in theworkplace (OSHA, 1994):

    (1) Companies should have a policy statement on OSH.

    (2) Companies should have a plan for the implementation of hazard identification,risk assessment, and risk control including training and auditing.

    (3) Companies should take remedial action for any improvement to be made.

    The number of industrial accidents for the year 2006 was 21,609 of which 3,700 led topermanent disability and 188 resulted in death. For the year 2007, the number decreasedto 19,607 with 3,622 leading to permanent disability and 164 resulting in death (SOCSO,2007). The number of occupational accidents reported declined by 1,982 cases or3.4 percent to 56,339 as compared to 58,321 cases in 2006. The decrease in the number ofcases may be due to several initiatives implemented by the industries such as seminars,campaigns, periodic inspection and enforcements, and collaborations with governmentbodies, employer association, and worker unions to increase awareness of safety andhealth in the workplace. Employers and employees really need to combine their efforts toreduce the number of accidents in industry, specifically in the workplace.

    1.2 Unconducive work environmentThere are many questions about the safety and health aspect of the workingenvironment with regard to workers. People who spend about a quarter of their lives inthe workplace must be aware of this situation (Brune et al., 1997). Ensuring a safe andhealthy workplace requires a joint effort with input from management and employees.While undoubtedly a win-win proposition, it is certainly not easy to ensure a safe andhealthy workplace (Pingle, 2009). SOCSO categorized the work environment into three



  • categories: outdoor, indoor, and underground. From the report, there are significantproblems in the working environment and 98 cases were reported in 2006 with afurther 221 in 2007. The number of industrial accidents by causing agent recorded 569cases in 2006 and 617 in 2007. The data has increased year by year. Airbornecontamination is one of the hazards that is associated with work environments(Goetsch, 2008). From the unconducive work environment, there are related issues ofworker safety and health. Sickness absenteeism is a significant problem both foremployees and for employers (Martimo, 2006). It is important for preventive purposesto recognize the situation and factors that cause psychological overload at work.Rapid workforce, pressure from employer, and continuous changes at work are oftenlisted as stress factors (Rantanen and Lehtinen, 1999). The health status of workers insmall companies has been noted to be relatively poor (Yamataki et al., 2006).

    1.3 Industrial air pollutionSince the shift in the nations development strategy from agriculture to manufacturingand heavy industries, there has been an increase in the generation of pollutants thusresulting in the deterioration of the countrys air quality. This is evident from a studydone for long-term observation on the trends of major air pollutants in Malaysia whichincludes nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ground level ozone (O3), totalsuspended particulate (particularly PM10), and sulfur dioxide emitted from industrialand urban areas from the early 1970s (Latif et al., 2006). In the manufacturing industry,air pollution comes from the surroundings and the process itself. The air pollutioncomes in different types whether it is in the form of gas or in solids. Thus, the exampleactivities that generate the pollutants from industry are the welding process (ACGIH,1998). Leman et al. (2009a) monitored toxic gases in industries. From the study, there issignificant evidence that the welding process is one of the sources of air pollution.The Malaysian Government has introduced guidelines on the monitoring of airbornecontaminants for chemicals hazardous to health (Department of Occupational Safetyand Health (DOSH), 2002). However, from the observation and case study done, it isnoticed that the monitoring process has not been given priority, and due to insufficientequipment, the toxic gases are not measured in the workplace (Leman et al., 2009a).In providing solutions to the above problems, it is necessary to conduct a monitoringand support system for a sustainable work environment, in order to create healthyworking conditions in Malaysian SMIs. The introduction of an industrial air pollutionmonitoring system (IAPMOS) approach will promote occupational health awarenessamong the workers in Malaysian SMIs.

    2. Literature reviewSafety and health in Malaysia began 130 years ago. With the rapid growth of technologyand economic development, DOSH no longer focuses solely on the manufacturing sectors,but also other occupational sectors where the main focus is to ensure the safety, health,and welfare of people in the workplace and to protect others from the danger arising fromoccupational activities (DOSH, 2007). Thus, DOSH is the only government agencyresponsible for administrating, managing and enforcing legislation pertaining to OSH inthe country with the mission of making all occupations safe and healthy while enhancingthe quality of working life (OSHA, 1994).

    Developmentof a monitoring



  • 2.1 Increasing OSH observance levelsTo ensure the safety, health, and welfare of workers are taken care of, DOSH is workingtowards making sure that the occurrence of industrial accidents in Malaysia is low byintroducing of the OSH Master Plan by 2015. This plan will provide the direction of OSHin the country, and function as a guide for working cohesively with stakeholders andsocial partners, including government agencies, local authorities, labor unions,employer associations, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations.The OSH program must include four major elements that make up a basic program.DiBerardinis (1999) reported that an effective OSH program will include:

    (1) management commitment and employee involvement;

    (2) worksite hazards analysis;

    (3) hazard prevention and control; and

    (4) safety and health training.

    In addition, DOSH also carried out the SMI OSH audits. It is the departments hope thatthese new strategies will help to reduce accidents in this sector. The rapid development ofthe country in various industrial sectors, together with the involvements of newtechnologies, is a challenge to the department to ensure that safety and health inworkplaces are under control. The department, therefore, has to be proactive and farsighted to ensure OSH in workplaces is in line with the development of the country. In theera of global economics, new OSH risks are emerging as key challenges for manybusinesses, including small and micro-enterprises, informal and rural workplaces(Kawakami, 2009). Vainio (2009) has reported occupational dust diseases, asbestosis, andsilicosis remain high on the list of occupational health problems particularly in low-incomecountries and occupational asthma is also common, although notably under-recognized.High-risk workers exposure in developing countries appears to be as important asexposure to isocyanates, cereal grain dust, welding fumes, wood dust, etc.

    2.2 OSH standards and guidelinesWorldwide, organizations strive to develop their management systems for businessfunctions, ranging from quality and environment to safety, information security, andsocial responsibility. During the last decade a considerable amount of these efforts hasbeen concentrated on introducing and applying standards such as the InternationalOrganization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 and ISO 14001 (Eriksson and Hansson,2006). Numerous manufacturing and service organizations have integrated or areconsidering integration of their respective OSH management and audit systems intothe ISO-based audit driven quality management system (QMS; ISO 9000) orenvironmental management system (EMS; ISO 14000) models (Dyjack et al., 1998).The need for an integrated management system often arises as a result of decisions toimplement an EMS and an OSH management system (Chung et al., 2006) in addition toa QMS. Thus, the development of a standard from various sources come into the publicdomain. For example, the series like the OSHAS 18001:2007 and OSHAS 18002:2008.The OSHAS 18001 is compatible with ISO 9001:2000 (Quality) and ISO 14001: 1996(Environmental) management system standards, in order to facilitate the integration ofquality and environment OSH management systems by the organization, should theywish to do so (BSI, OHSAS 18001:1999). Hence, Malaysia has also introduced theMalaysian standard and the latest is MS ISO 9001:2008 and MS 1722:200. MS ISO



  • 9001:2008, QMS requirements were launched and it is recommended the company onquality managements aspect. MS 1722: Part 1: (2005), OSH management systems-Part1: Requirements were established to guide the company on safety and health aspects.MS 1722: Part 2: (2003), OSH managements systems-Part 2: Guidelines were developedto give the company understanding and guidance to the employer on building up anoccupational management system. From the environment aspect, the study also willlook at the MS ISO 14001:, 2004, EMS requirements with guidance for use.

    2.3 Emergence of new occupational hazardsThe implications for OSH practice, the formulation of legislation and its enforcement ina global economy are considerable. Tools, machines, processes, raw materials, plants,buildings, and the management system will have to be designed so that they areintrinsically safe and non-hazardous for the user. OSH will have to be integrated aspart of the production process with its own quality assurance system (Brune et al.,1997, ISO 9001:2008). Despite the fact that people are working and spend most of theirwaking hours at the workplace, where health is made and broken, little attention andresources are accorded to OSH at work (Leman, 2009b). One way of improving OSHissues in the workplace is the usage of practical tools (Pule, 2008). Practical tools are ameans that act as guides, instruments for developing OSH issues, in order to effectpositive changes. Tools that are practical and user friendly facilitate OSH work whenaddressing issues of concern. For example, these tools can be of enormous assistance inidentifying risks quickly and ensuring that they are prevented or reduced. This task isvery challenging, in particular as the work environment and organizations havebecome more complex as a consequence of globalization. The focus on affordable-costoptions for practical workplace improvements is a common feature, especially in SMIs.This emphasis on affordable-cost improvements has proved useful in guiding the usersabout selecting app...


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