Designing healthy sewing workstations for workers in the informal economy


Affordable ergonomics: designing healthy sewing workstations for workers in the informal economy.

In many parts of the developing world, a large number of informal workers are engaged in sewing, machining, and other forms of work in the informal textile and clothing sector. Despite substantial progress in labor laws, such workers are vulnerable to potentially disabling forms of repetitive strain injuries that result from poor ergonomic design of workplace equipment.

This research seeks to understand, from a sociotechnical perspective, how informal workers in small-scale sewing units in India use workplace equipment. In doing so, we seek to develop technical and design recommendations for addressing the multi-faceted needs of the informal sewing machine market in India, with the ultimate aim of developing products that are ergonomic and affordable.

We have collaborated with Usha International and SEWA Bharat to conduct focus group discussions and informational interviews in New Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab.