Whole-body vibration management


Operators of mining equipment are exposed to high amplitude whole-body vibration. This exposure is strongly associated with the subsequent development of back pain and other adverse health effects. Managing these exposures requires systematic and regular measurement of vibration amplitudes as part of a comprehensive whole-body vibration management plan, however current “gold-standard” measurement devices are expensive and complex.

This research program has developed and validated an iOS application which allows an iPod Touch to be used to estimate whole-body vibration exposure. Preliminary investigations funded by Rio Tinto Coal were promising and funding was awarded from the Coal Services Health and Safety Trust (CSHST) to develop and validate an iOS application (WBV). The subsequent stage of the research, funded by the Australian Coal Association Research Program, assessed the use of the application at surface coal mines and further funding from CSHST was awarded to undertake data collection at three NSW underground coal mines. Reports of these projects are available. CSHST has awarded further funding for work at underground sites; and ACARP has awarded additional funding to develop the software to enable continuous real-time equipment vibration monitoring at surface mine sites.