Preliminary recognition of whole body vibration risk in private farmers' working environment.
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Departament of Physical Occupational Hazards, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Jaczewskiego 2, PO Box 185, 20-950 Lublin, Poland;
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2007;14(2):299–304
The objective of the study was the preliminary recognition of whole body mechanical vibration risk among farmers in the rural work environment. The study covered 15 farms using cultivated land of the size of over 10 ha, carrying out mixed production (plant-animal), equipped with agricultural tractors, and a basic set of tractor-mounted agricultural machinery, with a partial contribution of self-propelled agricultural machines. The scope of the study covered the measurements of effective vibration RMS acceleration (equivalent, maximum, minimum, peak) frequency corrected on the seats of agricultural vehicles in the three spatial directions of vibration (X, Y, Z). These measurements were realized while performing various field and transport work activities during the period of the whole year. A analysis of the peak, maximum and minimum vibration accelerations confirms that in the agricultural occupational environment there occurs a considerable variation of the vibration values registered. This is also evidenced by high values of the Crest Factor, sometimes exceeding a score of 10. Analysis of the registered equivalent values of vibration acceleration (frequency corrected) from the hygienic aspect showed that vibration occurring on the seats may create risk for farmers' health while performing such work activities as: tedding and raking of hay, fertilizers spreading, soil aggregation, grass mowing and cultivation. Analysis of the spatial distribution of the measured, frequency corrected vibration accelerations indicates that considerably the highest acceleration values occur in the vertical plane (direction - Z). Literature data clearly confirm an unfavourable effect of whole body vibration present in agricultural vehicles on discomfort and the occurrence of back pain in the operators, especially in the low back region (lumbar spine), as well as degenerative changes in the spine.