PROPOSAL FOR AN ERGONOMIC CONFORMITY INDEX FOR EVALUATION OF HARVESTERS AND FORWARDERS
Context: In mechanized forestry work, the ergonomic conditions of the workplace affects operator's health, performance and productivity. Originality: A comparison of different forest machines becomes complex in case where it is required analysis of several ergonomic factors simultaneously. There are several methods of ergonomic analysis however, a more complete methodology that considers several ergonomic factors and produces an index that represent the ergonomic condition of the machine is
... the machine is needed. Objective: Propose a methodology to determining an Ergonomic Conformity Index to evaluate Harvesters and Forwarders of different brands. Methodology: The ECI was determined initially basing in four relevant ergonomic factors: noise, vibration, thermal environment and air quality. These factors were evaluated utilizing four Harvesters and two Forwarders in eucalyptus timber harvesting operations. For each factor, a score was given according to its compliance with the established parameters. The ECI was obtained from an average of the scores given to each factor. The index ranges from zero to one, so that lower values indicate worse ergonomic conditions. Results: All the analyzed machines had continuous noise between 75.0 and 82.6 dB (A) and whole-body vibration between 0.27 and 0.70 m s-2. HV1 and HV2 presented thermal environment in accordance with the established criteria, other machines showed deficiencies in this regard. All the machines presented non-conformities in the air quality, except HV2. The ECI of Harvesters HV1, HV2, HV3 and HV4, were 0.83; 0.88; 0.71; 0.63. The ECI of Forwarders FW1 and FW2 were 0.58 and 0.79. Conclusion: The determination of the ECI allowed an evaluation and comparison between analyzed forest machines. The machine with the higher ECI had only one non-conformity, and it was related to noise inside the cab. The machine that got the lower ECI presented non-conformities for all the factors.