Skills and Expertise
Research Items (4)
Furniture manufacturing in Malaysia is an established industry driven primarily by the availability of raw materials and labor. However, the industry suffers from the low-recovery rate of its materials, as it produces a substantial amount of waste during the manufacturing process. Although smaller waste fragments, or off-cuts, are recovered for other purposes, the splinters, shavings, and coarse dust have little economic value and are often discarded. Because wood is a well-established source of bioenergy, this study investigated the potential use of mill waste from the furniture-manufacturing industry for electrical energy generation. Waste from the rubberwood, bamboo, and rattan furniture industries was evaluated for its potential electrical energy generation, and the amount was compared with the electrical energy that was consumed by the furniture industry. The study also compared the emission of greenhouse gases from the combustion of these waste materials against fossil fuels used to generate electricity to assess its potential in terms of the environmental benefits. In conclusion, such mill waste could be utilized as substitute for fossil fuel to generate energy in the furniture industry.
A study was carried out to assess the dust emission and working conditions in the bamboo and rubberwood furniture manufacturing industries in Malaysia. The emission of wood dust arising from these industries was measured in each main work station in the mills. Meanwhile, a questionnaire-based survey was conducted among 5900 workers in 45 companies to obtain information on the occupational accidents that occurred in the mills. The data were collected, compiled, and analyzed using the SPSS package. The highest dust emission from the sanding operation resulted in respiratory ailments among workers. The occurrence of injuries particularly to the hand, wrist, fingers and forearm was due to the prevailing working conditions, safety climate and workers characteristics. The dust exposure levels and working conditions were much more severe in the bamboo furniture manufacturing industry. As a result, a review of existing of dust exposure levels in the woodworking industry is warranted.
The forest products industry is an important socioeconomic sector to many developing countries, both in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employment. In the case of Malaysia, the industry has been one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in the country, driven primarily by comparative advantages derived from factor inputs. However, with increasing competition from other cheaper producing nations particularly China and Vietnam, the Malaysian forest products industry is forced to transform and move along the value-chain through innovation and value-addition. Although the government has played a pivotal role in providing a broad policy framework to support value-adding and innovative activities, success on the ground has been limited. The creativity environment, which is plagued with by low-wage economy, coupled with limited network between research, market and industrial enterprises have stifled innovation within the industry. The lack of information and the poor quality human capital has also contributed to the limited innovation within the forest products industry in the country. Against this background, most innovation within the industry is confined to the realms of alternative raw materials, with minimal technological and design variations. Although extensive research and development activities are undertaken, the commercialization potential of the research outputs is limited due to being not market-driven. Inevitably, innovation in the forest products sector must be based on market-needs and must be driven through technological and design change in order to ensure long-term competitiveness.
- Mar 2011
Studies on occupational accidents in the value-added wood products industry, particularly the wooden furniture industry is grossly lacking. Therefore, the risk factors for injuries to workers in the Malaysian wooden furniture industry were studied in fifty wood-furniture manufacturing factories, using a structured questionnaire. The three primary risk factors for accidents in the wooden furniture industry were: Nature of work, workers characteristics and prevailing safety climate, while the use of dangerous machinery and poor layout were found to be secondary accident causing risk factors. The findings of the study show conclusively that the prevailing safety climate and workers’ characteristics have the strongest influence on accident rate in the wooden furniture industry. It must also be recognized that the production oriented mentality prevalent in the industry appears to contribute towards the compromised occupational safety and health standards in the industry. In this context, it is essential for the policy makers to implement binding legislations that would safe guard the safety and health of the workers, while mandating the factory management to show commitment towards the workers health and safety to ensure a safe working environment in the wooden furniture manufacturing industry.