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Lower injury risk for underground low-coal equipment operators using ergonomic seat with viscoelastic foam.

Mayton-A; Merkel-R; Gallagher-S
NOIRS 1997 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 1997. Washington, DC: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1997 Oct; :61
Operators of underground mobile equipment, particularly shuttle cars, experience significant levels of shock and whole-body vibration (WBV). Research sponsored by the U. S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) has indicated that as many as one-third of underground equipment operators may be exposed to adverse levels of shock and WBV. Moreover, cumulative back, neck, and abdominal disorders are linked to prolonged exposure of equipment operators to shock and WBV. Also, traditional seats on mining equipment are inadequate concerning the human needs of the equipment operator. In the extreme, a mining vehicle seat has sometimes consisted of a bent steel plate bolted to the machine frame or hard rubber on a steel bench. Further, restricted space in low-coal mines makes seat suspension systems difficult to use in isolating operators from shock and WBV. The Human Factors group at the NIOSH - Pittsburgh Research Center is responding to these issues with research on viscoelastic foams applied to an ergonomically designed seat. For the full-load case, an ergonomic seat with viscoelastic foam isolated the low-coal shuttle car operator from shock down to 15 Hz. With results from foam testing, an analytical model identified viscoelastic foam capable of lowering the isolation frequency for vehicle shock to below 5 Hz. This paper discusses work that has led to improvements in a low-coal shuttle car seat.
Injuries; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Underground-miners; Underground-mining; Coal-mining; Coal-miners; Coal-workers; Ergonomics; Mining-industry; Mining-equipment; Miners; Back-injuries; Neck-injuries; Models; Analytical-models; Analytical-methods
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NOIRS 1997 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium