REPETITIVE MOTION AND POSTURAL ANALYSIS OF MACHINE OPERATORS IN MECHANIZED WOOD HARVESTING OPERATIONS

Anderson de Costa Paini Eduardo da Silva Lopes Amaury Paulo de Souza Felipe Martins de Oliveira Carla Krulikowski Rodrigues About the authors

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study was to evaluate operators’ posture and repetitive motions in the mechanized wood harvesting operations, aiming comfort, safety, and health of forest operators. The study was carried out in the clearcutting of pine stands located in Paraná State, Brazil. Data were obtained in tree cutting operations with feller buncher and wood processing with harvesters, in which three operators in each machine were filmed during their workday. The typical postures were evaluated by Rapid Whole-Body Assessment (REBA) and Rapid Upper-Limb Assessment (RULA) methods, while repetitive motions were evaluated by Latko, Silverstein and Strain Index (SI) methods. The results showed the feller buncher operators remained long period seated in static position, with fists turning outside the neutral line and without pauses for recovery, although REBA and RULA methods had identified low postural risk. In wood processing operation, the spinal column and neck were the most affected body parts, presenting medium postural risk and the need for investigations and quickly changes by REBA and RULA methods, respectively. Besides that, wood harvesting operations with feller buncher and harvester were classified as high repeatability, showing more than 30 thousand repetitive motions in a workday, indicating high risk of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) in the operators. Therefore, it is concluded the ergonomic measures are necessary to improve operators’ comfort and health.

Keywords:
Ergonomics; Forestry; Health; Mechanized harvesting

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