The authors report the first results of a global survey on the working conditions in the forests of the Italian Alps, where the mechanization of the operations is limited, owing to the difficult geomorphological conditions. First, an organizational analysis was performed in all the phases of forest work by using the method of organizational congruences. The physiological cost of each task was evaluated by measuring oxygen consumption, lung ventilation during work, and the heart rate through 24-hour continuous dynamic electrocardiograph recording. The postural load on the lumbar disks for the main logging tasks was evaluated by means of a biomechanical analysis that estimated the compressive force applied to disk L3 in different positions. The vibrations transmitted to the worker's hand/arm system during the cutting activities were also measured. The results of the analysis suggest that potentially hazardous situations can be reduced by training operators in safer work practices and that the work organization must be improved since most tasks are physically too demanding, from both the metabolic and the cardiac point of view. The postures habitually assumed by workers during cutting exert a load on intervertebral disks that is much higher than if they assumed an ergonomically correct position. The health risk from vibrations requires a careful control of both the working conditions and the worker's state of health.
- chain saw
- physical workload
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Human Factors and Ergonomics