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Minerals 2013, 3(2), 145-164; doi:10.3390/min3020145
Article

Research Using Virtual Reality: Mobile Machinery Safety in the 21st Century

1,* , 2
, 1
, 1
 and 1
1 Joint Biomechanics Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, Western University, Thames Hall 3159A, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario N6A 3K7, Canada 2 School of Human Kinetics, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario P3E 2C6, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 January 2013 / Revised: 16 March 2013 / Accepted: 22 March 2013 / Published: 15 April 2013
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Abstract

Whole-body vibration is a significant health risk for between 4% and 7% of the work force in North America. In addition, many factors compound the health risks of heavy machinery operators. For example, twisted trunk and neck postures stiffen the spine and increase the transmission of vibration to the head. Similarly, workers adopt awkward postures in order to gain appropriate lines of sight for machine operations. Although the relative contribution of these various issues can be evaluated in field studies and models, we propose that virtual reality is a powerful medium for investigating issues related to health and safety in mining machine operators. We have collected field data of posture and vibration, as well as visual environment, for a forklift operating in a warehouse. This paper describes the process and outcome of this field data collection, and provides a discussion on the next steps to develop and test the virtual reality model to enable laboratory testing. Our ongoing studies will evaluate the interplay between posture and vibration under conditions replicating routine heavy machinery operations, such as underground mining.
Keywords: mining; whole-body vibration; posture; line of sight; machine operators; mobile machines; low back injury; neck injury; biomechanics mining; whole-body vibration; posture; line of sight; machine operators; mobile machines; low back injury; neck injury; biomechanics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Dickey, J.P.; Eger, T.R.; Frayne, R.J.; Delgado, G.P.; Ji, X. Research Using Virtual Reality: Mobile Machinery Safety in the 21st Century. Minerals 2013, 3, 145-164.

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