Reducing whole-body vibration exposure in backhoe loaders by education of operators
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionLanger, T. H., Iversen, T. K., Andersen, N. K., Mouritsen, O. Ø., & Hansen, M. R. (2012). Reducing whole-body vibration exposure in backhoe loaders by education of operators. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 42(3), 304-311. doi: 10.1016/j.ergon.2012.03.001
Whole-body vibration is a health hazard for operators of construction machinery. The level of whole-body vibration exposure on the operator is governed by three different factors; performance of the suspension system of the machine, planning of the work and the skills of the operator.In this research work it is investigated whether there is a potential in bringing down the level of whole-body vibration exposure by educating operators of backhoe loaders. This is carried out by an experimental setup. Six experienced operators participated in the experiments carried out on two different sizes of backhoe loaders. Each operator had to complete three different tasks without any kind of instructions. Subsequently they got a short education on eco-driving and vibration avoidance and carried out the tasks once more. Time duration, whole-body vibration exposure and fuel consumption was registered before and after education.The result of the short education was an average reduction in the whole-body vibration exposure of 22.5%. And for all completed tasks expect one a considerably fuel saving was obtained too - up to 38%. This experiment demonstrates that education of the operator will improve the occupational health and save fuel. The results also indicate that these improvements can be obtained without reduction in productivity as the instructions become a habit for the operators. Thus it is profitable for the employer to educate the employees operating construction machinery.Relevance to industry: The findings of this work is highly relevant to the construction industry. It shows a great potential in reducing damaging vibration and at the same time reduce fuel consumption. It also emphasizes the need for better education of machine operators.
Author's version of an article published in the journal: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. Also available from the publisher at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ergon.2012.03.001