Mining Publication: An Ergonomic Evaluation of Excavating Operations: A Pilot Study
Previous studies indicate that operators of heavy construction equipment are afflicted by musculoskeletal injuries of the arms, shoulders, neck, and lower back. These injuries appear to be due to excessive periods of sitting (static posture), work intensity, whole-body vibration, high resistance levers, repetitive motions, and awkward postures. Although numerous studies have shown an association between operation of heavy construction equipment and symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders, very little research has been performed that systematically characterizes operating engineers' exposure to ergonomic hazards. The objective of this study was to systematically characterize the ergonomic hazards associated with excavating operations. As such, the following were performed: (1) vibrations were measured at the operator/seat interface (X, Y, and Z axes), and at the floor of the cab (Z axis); (2) psychophysical ratings of whole-body vibration (WBV) level and overall seat design were obtained; and (3) postural assessments of the job were made.