Published: 31 March 2012

Prognostics of vibration induced risk to operators of agricultural machinery

S. Merkevicius1
R. Butkus2
E. Jotautiene3
G. Vasiliauskas4
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Abstract

Frequent use of vibrating hand-held tools and operation of machinery can result in various chronic diseases. Operators of machinery are often afflicted with peripheral and systematic disorders. The statistical data collected over several decades clearly indicate the lack of operator’s safety from exposure to vibrations. The causes and impacts of vibration effects on humans are reviewed in annual reports by health and safety experts in many countries. One of the most common occupational diseases that has been frequently reported is the musculoskeletal disorder due to extended exposure to mechanical vibrations. The influence of vibrations during time period τ can be described by vibro-energy load aτ2·τ. If this load value over a specified time period does not exceed the permissible level a2·T0, it will not induce negative effects on human health. This approach was used in the present study for the prediction of hands and whole body vibration effects on operators of various vibration inducing machinery. Agricultural operators were selected as test subjects, since agricultural tractors and other mobile machinery emit high levels of vibration. Vibration data were obtained from statistical reports developed in the time period from 1988 to 2008. It was found that majority of agricultural machinery does not guarantee proper vibration safety. Thus organizational prevention methods should be developed and implemented. Reduction of vibrations by various technical methods and/or reduction of vibration exposure could be costly, but they are needed in order to provide effective solutions in reducing vibration risk to operators.

About this article

Received
01 September 2011
Accepted
14 February 2012
Published
31 March 2012
Keywords
vibration load
vibration risk
whole-body vibration
hand-arm vibration