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Body Orientation and Points of Contact during Laboratory-Based Machinery Egress: Investigating Adherence to Safety Guidelines

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

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 26(3): 95-104. (doi: 10.13031/jash.13931) @2020
Authors:   David C. Kingston, Behzad Bashiri, Abisola Omoniyi, Catherine M. Trask
Keywords:   Access path, Farm machinery, Safety guidelines, Occupational injury.

Highlights

Most of the experienced operators performed machine egress facing out from the cab.

Egress was 2.5 s longer when facing in toward the machine, but no differences were observed in points of contact maintained when compared to egress facing out.

Maintaining at least three points of contact during egress was observed for only approximately 30% of egress duration.

A one-hour exposure to whole-body vibration did not change points of contact behavior nor egress duration when performing egress while facing out.

Abstract. Mobile farm machinery operators are at a high risk of injury when entering (ingress) and exiting (egress) the cabs of such machinery due to slips and falls. Safety organizations and equipment manufacturers have delivered a consistent message: operators are to egress machines facing in, toward the access path, and maintain three points of contact at all times. This study used a laboratory-based model of a mid-sized agricultural tractor to determine adherence to best practices for safety and the effect of acute whole-body vibration exposure on compliance. The majority of 19 experienced operators (16 male, 3 female) performed machinery egress facing out from the cab because descending while facing in toward the machine took 2.5 s longer. Maintaining at least three points of contact during egress was observed for only approximately 30% of egress duration, but was as high as approximately 41% for participants who self-selected the facing-in orientation. Exposure to 1 h of whole-body vibration did not change points of contact behavior nor trial duration when performing egress while facing out. Overall, the model cab used in this study had safety features similar to a real-world machine, indicating that there may be opportunities in access path or cab door design to promote increased points of contact use. Future work is needed to accurately assess three-dimensional movement patterns and external forces for disease and injury risk models.

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