Mining Publication: Evaluation of Seat Designs Relative to Transmitted Vehicle Vibration on Underground Mine Transport Vehicles
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers have investigated seat design issues for the occupants and operators of underground mine transport vehicles relative to whole-body vibration (WBV) and mechanical shock. Considering the ergonomic and engineering improvements made to underground mine shuttle car seats, this study has focused on reducing injury risk by improving seating on transport vehicles such as scoops, mantrips, personnel carriers, and rail-mounted locomotives. Similarly, proposed seat design improvements included layering of various types of viscoelastic foam padding to isolate vehicle occupants and operators from adverse health effects of jarring/jolting exposure. This paper discusses the results obtained from laboratory vibration testing of new seat padding materials in seven configurations at the NIOSH - Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (PRL) showing that careful use of configuration and materials can reduce the operator's exposure to WBV. In addition, results for four mine transport vehicles are presented from field data collection efforts at a Southwestern Pennsylvania mine showing that a NIOSH based design does reduce the operator's exposure to WBV. Finally, the authors discuss efforts to develop and field test seat padding interventions using new padding materials and configurations based on the laboratory test results.