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Evaluation of the NAGCAT Tractor Guidelines

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  075008.(doi:10.13031/2013.23280)
Authors:   Fadi A Fathallah, Ji Hong Chang, James M Meyers, John A Miles, Brandon J Miller, Barbara Marlenga, Richard L Berg, William Pickett
Keywords:   ergonomics; safety; adolescents; children

This study aims to build upon the North American Guidelines for Children's Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT) project by providing a field test of the NAGCAT tractor guidelines. Several tractor dealers and farmers offered their tractors for the study in California and Wisconsin; for a total of 86 tractors. A unique photographic technique provided 3-D digital mock-ups of the tractors, which facilitated the evaluation of reach and visual abilities of adolescents using anthropometric data. Force requirements were captured using a digital force gauge and compared to existing force requirements and databases. The results indicate, in general, that hand-operated controls tend to be out of reach for both genders with the exception of steering wheels. The worst controls were hand throttle levers. On the other hand, foot-operated controls yielded higher reachable percentages for both genders, while steering wheels showed a medium range of reachable percentages. In general, youth operators showed relatively restricted fields of vision compared to the adults, and their fields of vision decreased as obstacles were closer to the tractor. The results also showed that foot-operated controls require more strength than the recommended levels. In the meantime, the recommended physical strengths of children surpassed the activation forces for hand-operated controls. This result suggests that youth operators would be very likely exposed to muscle fatigue in the leg due to the frequent use of foot clutches and brakes during tractor operation. The study showed that the demarcation of the NAGCAT by the size of the tractor is not significant for the majority of controls.

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