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Workload, Exposure to Noise, and Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Case Study of Motor-Manual Tree Feeling and Processing in Poplar Clear Cuts

Department of Forest Engineering, Forest Management Planning and Terrestrial Measurements, Faculty of Silviculture and Forest Engineering, Transilvania University of Braşov, Şirul Beethoven No. 1, Braşov 500123, Romania
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Forests 2018, 9(6), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060300
Received: 2 May 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 27 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Operations: Planning, Innovation and Sustainability)
Motor-manual tree felling and processing (MMTFP) is among the most used options in timber harvesting operations and it is formally known to be a heavy job exposing the workers to safety hazards and harmful factors. Nevertheless, both workload and exposure depend on many operational, organizational, and worker-related parameters. Few studies have evaluated the ergonomics of such operations and fewer have been carried out using an integrated approach able to collect and interpret data for more than one ergonomic parameter. This study evaluated the ergonomic conditions of task-based MMTFP operations in flatland poplar forests by the means of workload, exposure to noise, and risk of musculoskeletal disorders. A fully-automatic approach was used to collect and pair the heart rate and noise exposure data that was complemented by video recording to collect postural data. Workload experienced by the worker was evaluated in terms of heart rate reserve (%HRR), indicating a heavy load during the productive time (%HRR = 46%); exposure to noise was calculated at the task and study level, exceeding (LAeq = 97.15 dB(A); LEX,8h = 96.18 dB(A)) the acceptable limits; and the risk of musculoskeletal disorders was evaluated using the concepts and procedures of the Ovako Working Posture Analysis System, indicating a high postural risk index (PRI = 275), which can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). For more conclusive results, the research should be extended to cover the relevant variability factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest operations; motor-manual work; ergonomics; workload; exposure to noise; musculoskeletal disorders; automation. forest operations; motor-manual work; ergonomics; workload; exposure to noise; musculoskeletal disorders; automation.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cheţa, M.; Marcu, M.V.; Borz, S.A. Workload, Exposure to Noise, and Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Case Study of Motor-Manual Tree Feeling and Processing in Poplar Clear Cuts. Forests 2018, 9, 300.

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