Introduction: Exposure to whole body vibration (WBV) is one of the most important risks for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The objective of the study was to investigate whether an active cab suspension system fitted on a telehandler was effective in reducing WBV and in improving comfort. Method: Sixteen male healthy professional operators drove a telehandler on a 100 m ISO 5008 smooth track at two different speeds (5 and 12 kph) with activated and deactivated cab suspension system. Adopting an ergonomic approach, different aspects of the human-machine interaction were analyzed: 1) vibration transmissibility, 2) subjective ratings of general comfort and local body discomfort, and 3) anthropometric characteristics of the users. Results: A series of ANCOVAs showed that the suspension system was effective in reducing WBV at both speeds but did not affect the perception of comfort by the operators. Moreover, individuals with higher Body Mass Index (BMI) experienced more comfort. Some neck/shoulder and lumbar complaints and perceived hard jolts seemed to remain even when the system was activated. No correlations were found between objective and subjective measures. Practical applications: Results suggest that the operators, given their wide range of physical variability, may need more adjustable or customizable WBV reduction systems.
Caffaro, F., Cremasco, M.M., Preti, C., Cavallo, E. (2016). Ergonomic analysis of the effects of a telehandler's active suspended cab on whole body vibration level and operator comfort. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL ERGONOMICS, 53, 19-26 [10.1016/j.ergon.2015.10.009].