Ergonomic research in South African forestry

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After a short reflection on the South African forest industry the article discusses various research projects in ergonomics. An anthropometric survey of the heterogeneous labour force allowed adequate design of leg protectors and the compiling of a South African ergonomic checklist. Many efforts went into the assessment of the noise and vibration levels of three-wheeled loaders with the objective to establish a basis for possible improvements. The Forest Technical Survey and the Slope and Terrain Classification are building the foundation for a sound terrain and system match in order to improve the work environment of the people involved. The development of a South African chute for the extraction of small sized timber in steeper terrain not only reduces working strain, but also provides jobs for low-skilled labour and additionally conserves the natural environment. A new three-pronged approach towards environment, viz. work-, natural and human environment, allowed an in-depth study of the status quo in one company. The results are used to assist in the design of an environmental policy, an assessment procedure, development of standards and the introduction of an audit system. Anticipated further research is mentioned and some conclusions drawn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalSouth African Forestry Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthropometric survey
  • Chute
  • Equipment design
  • Ergonomics
  • Leg protector
  • Noise
  • Practice code
  • Vibration
  • Work environment


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