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Evaluation Of Scraper Operator Exposure To Whole-Body Vibration In The Construction Industry: A Task Analysis - Introduction; Proceedings Of The First American Conference On Human Vibration

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    Kittusamy (Kittusamy & Buchholz, 2004) state that there have been few studies conducted to assess exposure to whole-body vibration (WBV) in the construction industry. They suggest that there is very little reliable data from the construction industry that characterizes exposure levels to various hazards including WBV or the health outcomes from such exposure and that there is a need for more exposure data. In a recent exploratory study of heavy construction equipment Cann (Cann, Salmoni, Vi, & Eger, 2003) looked at vibration levels for 14 different types of construction equipment. Eight of the 14 pieces of equipment tested exposed operators to levels of WBV that exceeded the recommended limits for an 8-hour period when comparing the measured VDV to the ISO 2631-1 standards. The purpose of the present research was not only to test a larger number of scrapers but also to investigate scraper operator exposure to whole body vibration (WBV) separately for each task. Methods 33 scrapers were evaluated for WBV in a variety of residential and road construction projects. Testing equipment consisted of triaxial accelerometers that allowed vibration data collection in all three orthogonal axes, with the x-axis positioned to measure vibration in the anterior-posterior direction, the y-axis in the medial-lateral direction, and the z-axis in the vertical direction. Root mean square accelerations (aRMS), vibration dose value (VDV), crest factor, and maximum transient vibration values (MTVV) were derived from this software and exported to an Excel™ spreadsheet for later data analysis. Test sessions for each piece of equipment lasted for approximately 20 minutes until at least three work cycles had been completed. Tasks included: idling while waiting for a bulldozer to push the scraper through the scraping phase, scraping, traveling loaded with dirt, dumping and traveling empty. Results Task breakdown by time reveals 25% of the work cycle was spent traveling fully loaded with dirt, 19% dumping, 21% traveling unloaded, 17% idling and 18% scraping. Calculation of aRMS vector sums gave values of 2.55 m/s2 during loaded transport, 2.46 m/s2 during dumping, 2.31 m/s2 during unloaded travel, 0.55 m/s2 during idling and 1.46 m/s2 during scraping (see Table 1). The highest acceleration values recorded were found in the z-axis during fully loaded transport reaching an average aRMS over three work cycles of 2.55 m/s2.
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