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Continuous Monitoring of Whole-body Vibration

Prof Robin Burgess-Limerick – Professor of Human Factors, The University of Queensland


Operators of earth-moving equipment at surface mines are exposed to whole-body vibration. Prolonged exposure to high amplitude whole-body vibration accumulates to cause adverse health effects, particularly back disorders. The potential for instantaneous high impact loading also exists and these high impacts (jolts and jars) experienced by earth-moving equipment operators may cause acute injury. ACARP project C23022 successfully demonstrated the use of an iOS application (WBV) as a cost-effective means of measuring whole-body vibration.

An extension of this work is underway which enables continuous communication of the accelerations to which equipment operators are exposed to a central server to facilitate the management of both whole-body vibration and instantaneous impacts. The server software will undertake further analysis and provide an alert in the event that a high amplitude impact on the operator is detected, or when the daily vibration dose approaches the upper limit of the ISO2631.1 Health Guidance Caution Zone. The vibration data will also be combined with GPS data to allow further analysis of the sources of elevated whole-body vibration levels and high impact incidents.