Open Cut

Managing Whole Body Vibration at Surface Coal Mines

Open Cut » Health and Safety

Published: March 16Project Number: C23022

Get ReportAuthor: Robin Burgess-Limerick and Danellie Lynas | The University of Queensland

The web page provides information about the project including a link to the free WBV application and java application tool, documentation and manual.  This will be a great benefit to the industry.

This project has validated, implemented, and evaluated the use of an iOS application (WBV) installed on iPod Touch devices as an inexpensive whole body vibration measurement device.   

Operators of earth moving equipment are exposed to vibration through the seat.  Prolonged exposure to high amplitude whole body vibration causes serious long term health effects, particularly back disorders.  Management of this hazard is difficult, in part because measurement of vibration exposure requires expensive equipment and expertise, and measurements are consequently undertaken infrequently. More frequent measurements undertaken as part of a comprehensive vibration management plan will enable the identification of effective control measures to reduce vibration exposures.

Workplace management of whole‐body vibration exposure requires systematic collection of whole-body vibration data in conjunction with the numerous variables which influence vibration amplitudes.  The cost and complexity of commercially available measurement devices is an impediment to the routine collection of such data by workplaces.  An iOS application has been developed which allows an iPod Touch to be used to measure whole‐body vibration exposures.  The accuracy of the application was demonstrated by simultaneously obtaining 98 pairs of whole‐body vibration measurements from both the iPod Touch application and a commercially available whole‐body vibration measurement device during the operation of a variety of vehicles and mobile plant in operation at a surface coal mine.  Situations in which vibration levels lay within the ISO2631.1 health guidance caution zone were accurately identified, and the qualitatively features of the frequency spectra were reproduced.  The low cost and relative simplicity of the application has potential to facilitate its use as a screening tool to identify situations in which musculoskeletal disorders may arise as a consequence of exposure to whole‐body vibration.  

Considerable variability in measurement amplitudes, even within the same equipment type operated at the same site, has been noted.  However, the measurements have previously been undertaken for relatively short durations.  Fifty-nine measurements were collected from a range of earth‐moving equipment in operation at a surface coal mine.  Measurement durations ranged from 100 minutes to 460 minutes (median = 340 minutes).  The results indicate that the measurements previously observed are not an artifact of the relatively short durations and confirm that operators of surface mining equipment are relatively frequently exposed to vertical whole‐body vibration levels which lie within, or above, the Health Guidance Caution Zone defined by ISO2631.1.   

Dozers, in particular, are sometimes associated with extreme whole‐body vibration levels.  Data gathered regarding operator experience, task and geological conditions did not allow the causes of these extreme exposure to be determined.  Subsequent measurements which included simultaneous video recording of the dozer operation failed to capture the same extreme vibration levels.  It may be that the operator's knowledge that they were being video recorded influenced their behaviour.  This, in turn, suggests that systematic observation, feedback, training and supervision may be an effective strategy to reduce the prevalence of extreme dozer vibration exposures.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C19024Establishing Ecologically Sustainable Mine Water Release Criteria In Seasonally Flowing Streams

Extreme rainfall conditions in the Fitzroy Catchment over an approxi...

C25030Coal Mine Open Pit Final Void Closure And Relinquishment - Addressing Uncertainty In Coal Mine Environmental Planning

This report addresses uncertainties faced by coal mine operators whe...

C27046Estimation Of True Deformation Vector From Slope Radar Monitoring

Slope deformation radar monitors are now widely used in open cut coa...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27004Improving Coal Flotation With Oscillatory Air Supply

This report provides detailed information on coal flotation with os...

C25018Improving Solids Recovery And Moisture Reduction In Ultrafine Coal Dewatering

This report provides detailed information on fine coal dewatering in...

C27028Lab Froth Flotation Testing Guide With Coal Quality

Correct outcomes from laboratory froth flotation testing in coal bor...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C26039Nanoporosity In Cokes: Their Origin, Control And Influence On CO2 Reactivity

This project using the outcomes of previous project C24060, examine...

C28063A Comprehensive Technical Review Of High-Efficiency Low-Emission (HELE) Pulverised Coal Combustion Technologies For Power Generation

Research and development has been undertaken worldwide to realise co...

C28064Carbon Structure Transformation During Coking Of Australian Coking Coals: Better Understanding The Coke Formation

Carbon structures of coke that are formed during the plastic layer a...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

C26004CFD Modelling Of Reverse Thermal Oxidisers For VAM Abatement - CFD Modelling Of Fixed-Bed RTO Devices

The project is part of a larger multi‐phase program of study a...

C27058Technological Assessment Of A Recycle Reactor For VAM Abatement

Underground coal mining emits high volumes of methane, diluted in ve...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook