Seat selection guidelines to reduce whole-body vibration exposure levels in the SA mining industry
This article deals with an investigation into the specification and use of appropriate seating systems to reduce whole-body vibration (WBV) exposure in typical vehicles used in the SA mining industry. The EU Directive EU/44/2002 to be legislated in 2005 in European countries, provides legal and economic motivation for this project. The criteria for seat selection can be condensed to the requirements in the directive, which mandates an action level of 0.5 m/s2 and a vibration exposure limit of 1.15 m/s2 for an equivalent 8-hour daily exposure period. As part of this study six suspension seats, which the manufacturers claim satisfy the requirements in ISO 70966, were tested to determine the most suitable seat for an articulated dump truck. Six test subjects, three 'light' and three 'heavy' as specified in ISO 70966, were used to estimate the seat transmissibility functions in the vertical direction of the six different suspension seats. Transmissibility functions were measured in the laboratory with two excitation levels of 1 m/s2 and 2 m/s 2 r.m.s. in the 0.5-30 Hz frequency range, as well as one spectrum approximating the EM5 spectral class. SEAT values were calculated for road vibration data measured on a typical articulated dump truck. A set of seat selection guidelines that can be followed by vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, procurement officers and and the technical staff on a mine is proposed in this article. It is recommended that additional studies of the use and operating conditions of seating systems in the SA industry, as well as an epidemiological survey be commissioned to gather additional information on this subject. © The South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2005.