Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36:495–511, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-019-0061-y
Heavy earth-moving machineries used in openpit mines intensively expose drill operators to whole-body vibration and shocks, and thus to musculoskeletal disorders. The roles of individual, machine and rock-related factors in their exposure remain poorly understood. This cross-sectional study investigated their roles in 39 drill operators from Indian iron ore mines. It shows that 70 percent of the operators were exposed to high levels of vibration, above the limit values recommended by ISO 2631-1 (1997). Multiple linear regression models showed that the whole-body vibration and shock exposures were strongly associated with operator’s age, drill-machine model and rock hardness, uniaxial compressive strength and density. The role of body mass index was close to significance (p = 0.08). Univariate analyses found the drill’s age, seat-pad thickness and seat backrest height were also strong predictors. These results help in identifying risky operators, materials and occupational situations, and in implementing appropriate prevention and intervention strategies to reduce and monitor the exposures and health risk. In addition, during the planning stage of acquisition of new equipment, anthropometric data of the operators should be considered for the ergonomic design of the seat.