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Operator presence system: from design to implementation.

Ammons-D; Powers-J; Brand-I
NOIRS 2008-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium, October 21-23, 2008, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2008 Oct; :F5.1
Introduction: Due in part to human factors concerns hydraulic stump cutters have historically not been equipped with an Operator Presence System. Manufacturers and dealerships provide extensive documentation on the proper operation and safe use of the machine. However, some operators who have not followed these procedures have been injured. An Operator Presence System could be useful in preventing accidents where the operator approaches the cutter wheel with the clutch still engaged. Such a system must permit productive operation without interfering excessively with operator interaction with controls and creating operator difficulties such as hand/arm fatigue. To solve this problem, NIOSH and Vermeer Manufacturing Company collaborated to investigate applying capacitive sensing technology to detect the operator at the controls of a stump cutter. Methods: Vermeer and NIOSH agreed that NIOSH would investigate the feasibility of detecting an operator's location at the stump cutter controls. If this was determined to be feasible, Vermeer would refine and change the design as necessary and adapt it to hydraulic stump cutters. To this end, Vermeer provided NIOSH with various stump cutter components and general guidelines for mounting locations. NIOSH developed prototypes, conducted initial testing, and determined that sensing the operator's hand capacitively was probably feasible. Vermeer built from the successful work of NIOSH, made substantial improvements, and configured the design for use on hydraulic stump cutters. Field trials have now proven this design to be successful on the Vermeer SC252 and production has begun. Results/Conclusions: The result of this successful collaboration between NIOSH and Vermeer will help reduce the likelihood of injuries to an operator who approaches the cutter wheel without first disengaging the cutter wheel drive. Details regarding the early developments of this safety system along with the mechanisms used to establish this partnership will be discussed.
Accident-prevention; Accidents; Construction-equipment; Control-technology; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Human-factors-engineering; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Machine-operation; Machine-operators; Mechanical-properties; Occupational-exposure; Safety-engineering; Safety-research; Work-analysis; Work-operations; Work-performance; Workplace-studies
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Construction; Services: Public Safety
Source Name
NOIRS 2008-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium, October 21-23, 2008, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania