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Back injury control measures for manual lifting and seat design.

Gallagher-S; Mayton-A
2007 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit, February 25-28, Denver Colorado, Preprint 07-069. Littleton, CO: Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., 2007 Feb; :1-6
Low back pain remains a significant and costly problem in the mining industry. Research indicates that disc degeneration resulting from endplate fractures may be a common cause of pain. Prevention of endplate fractures requires reducing the loads experienced by the spine due to lifting and due to exposure to whole-body vibration. Development of more efficient supply-handling systems, innovative approaches to supply-handling problems, and proper design of manual lifting tasks can greatly reduce the risk of back pain, as can attention to proper design of seating. Engineering controls that emphasize workstation and job design or redesign are first preference for controlling or preventing WBV exposures and injury risk to vehicle drivers/operators. Administrative controls such as switching out mining vehicle operators during breaks and lunch should only be considered as interim solutions until suitable engineering controls are available. Some important guidelines to consider for a vehicle seat are to minimize vibration transmitted to the body with energy absorbing foam padding and a seat suspension; provide adjustable back support, particularly for the low back; and accommodate individual user differences with adjustability. Finally, it may never be possible to completely eliminate back pain in the mining industry; however, there are many steps that can be taken to greatly mitigate the risk.
Mining-industry; Safety-research; Injury-prevention; Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Musculoskeletal-system; Safety-practices; Back-injuries; Spinal-shock; Spinal-cord; Vibration; Vibration-control; Vibration-effects; Vibration-exposure; Manual-lifting; Manual-materials-handling; Materials-handling
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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2007 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit, February 25-28, Denver Colorado, Preprint 07-069