Evaluation of vibration exposure for interment technicians
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Evaluation of vibration exposure for interment technicians

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    The HHE Program evaluated concerns about injuries to an interment crew at a cemetery. Investigators spoke with employees about their health and safety concerns and measured the distance employees had to reach to operate equipment controls. Most operators' feet did not touch the foot controls when their back was against the backrest of the dumper, causing a larger portion of the forces from vehicle vibration to be absorbed through the seat and into the buttocks, pelvis, and torso. Whole body vibration measurements were taken during operation of a 10-ton power tip dumper and backhoe. Investigators also compared whole body vibration exposures during different driving speeds and loading conditions and found that higher speeds on the dumper produced more whole body vibration. Interment employees were exposed to whole body vibration due to the configuration of the dumper and the condition of the roadways and soil shed area. Investigators concluded that operating the dumper caused more whole body vibration than operating the backhoe. HHE Program investigators recommended that the employer restrict driving speeds of the dumper and backhoe by either installing a governor device on the equipment or by establishing a speed policy for employees. Roadways should be improved and maintained regularly and the unpaved soil shed area and access roadways leading to the area should be graded more often. Investigators also recommended rotating employees through tasks on the dumper and backhoe more frequently. Suggested citation: NIOSH [2013]. Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of vibration exposure for interment technicians. By Ramsey J, Lowe B, Werren D. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH HETA No. 2011-0166-3175.
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