Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. James P. Dickey


This study describes a method for combining two known risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries in heavy machine operators: whole-body vibration and posture. Time spent in specific forklift driving tasks in combinations of neck and trunk postures (from video) with the concurrent vibration exposure (r.m.s frequency weighted acceleration at seatpan) is presented in contingency tables; vibration (low, medium and high) in columns/ posture (neutral, moderate and awkward) in rows. Time spent in different combinations differed between tasks and between joints. For example, 30% was associated with low/neutral trunk postures and 18% for the neck in the engaging the forks task. Meanwhile driving backward with a load inside the truck involved 52% in an awkward/low neck combination and 42% in the same task but without a load. Future research should evaluate this method with more subjects and perhaps other machines in addition to the forklift, and aim to evaluate risk of injury.