An Ergonomic Assessment Of A Skip Loader Construction Essay

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There are many hazards to consider with regards to driving of any type of vehicle, and in the case of a skip loader there can be numerous checks of the vehicle and load to be carried out regarding the safety of the vehicle, the driver and the general public, for example, security of the skip, and condition of the lorry, i.e. brakes, tyres, general condition. However, the whole point of this report is to highlight potential problems that could possibly contribute to the detriment of the drivers' health and well being. Therefore, as a safe system of work a pre-drive checklist can be drafted so that the driver can at least make his or herself comfortable in the cab environment.

As MSD and whole body vibration can be attributed to the driving of goods vehicles, the general problem cannot be totally removed unless the whole process of goods transport can be automated. As we don't yet have the robots to carry out these duties, LGV driving for now has to be carried out by human beings and therefore for the foreseeable future the problem will continue to exist. To their credit vehicle manufacturers continue to strive to make their products more ergonomically viable, however, even if the perfect lorry was designed today there would be tens of thousands of vehicles that would still contribute towards MSD and whole body vibration as the life of the vehicle is only finite depending on the usage and maintenance it receives. Regarding an ergonomic assessment, there can be no modifications made to the vehicle, but given that the design of any vehicle allows for adjustments to seating and controls, it can be assumed that these provisions are for the benefit of the driver/operator. Therefore, as a safe system of work, a set of simple pre-drive instructions is required in order to alleviate the MSD and whole body vibration effects on the driver.

Looking at the first step, an assessment of the task, this is where all aspects of the task must be looked at, i.e. what is used, who uses it, where is it done and how is it done. In the case of Paul it is an assessment of the way he chooses to be positioned in his lorry compared to the seating and equipment setup. Following the assessment the hazards need to be identified and evaluated, is the seat adjusted properly? Are the controls adjusted and set to easily accessible positions/ can the instruments be viewed at a glance?

Any hazard that can be removed at this point should be so as to reduce any risk even further. New safe methods need to be defined and then implemented such as adjustment and seating recommendations. The whole SSOW must be monitored periodically to ensure that it is both workable and effective, does the SSOW show any benefits and has Paul's back problems shown any improvement? Any changes in circumstance will require changes to the SSOW. The SSOW for the Skip Loader Driving Position is shown in Appendix 5.2.

The risks associated with the transport industry are many, but it is fair to say that one of the risks is shared by all, that being the possibility of developing Musculoskeletal Disorders from whole body vibration and bad posture. There is a lot to be investigated and this report has merely brushed the surface. Many studies have been undertaken, one in particular being the recently published HSE research report on whole body vibration and ergonomics of driving occupants, RR766. The report prepared by the Health and Safety Laboratory for the HSE this year, contains detailed measurements and analysis of a number of different types of LGV including a fire engine, a car transporter and a landfill compactor. The Health and Safety Laboratory is an Agency of the HSE and is considered to be one world's finest, most respected scientific facilities and therefore they can be expected to have access to the necessary equipment to carry out such an I depth analysis and in fact have developed what they call a toolkit exactly for this purpose. Details of RR766 are shown in Appendix 5.3.

For the case of the skip loader it has been accepted that the whole body vibration problem is definitely there even if there were no vibration measurements taken, but to address the posture issue would be the right direction to take as this is the easiest problem to alleviate. Using the principle of the basic anthropometric analysis a problem within the cab of the vehicle was identified and recommendations were handed out. Only time will tell if these recommendations drawn up in the SSOW will have any effect on Paul's health or the health of his colleagues, but if there are any marked improvements it would be interesting to pursue a further detailed study of the skip loader and its driver using a more scientific approach with sophisticated instruments such as the HSL toolkit.

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