WORK PRECARIOUSNESS: ERGONOMIC RISKS TO OPERATORS OF MACHINES ADAPTED FOR FOREST HARVESTING
ABSTRACT This study aimed to assess different types of machines adapted for mechanized forest harvesting activities in order to quantify the degree of compliance with ergonomic principles applicable to forest machines, as well as the ergonomic risks to which workers are exposed. The following machines were evaluated: a feller buncher adapted into a wheel loader; a mini skidder coupled to an agricultural tractor; and a forest loader adapted to an agricultural tractor; operating in the states of Paraná and Minas Gerais. Biomechanical working conditions were assessed by applying a checklist for simplified assessment of the workplace biomechanical conditions. The forced postures assessment was performed using the REBA - "Rapid Entire Body Assessment" method. In turn, ergonomic classification was through guidelines contained in the ergonomic classification manual "Ergonomic Guidelines for Forest Machines". Moreover, the environmental factors noise, temperature and vibration to which the operators of these machines were exposed were assessed. The results showed all assessed machines had ergonomic standards below those indicated in all assessed aspects, mainly related to access and dimensions of the workplace, need to adopt forced postures during working hours, and exposure to environmental factors assessed above tolerance limits. It is concluded that machines adapted for use in forest harvesting processes have shown significant gaps in relation to ergonomic aspects, presenting high and imminent risk of development of occupational diseases in their operators.