Truck-mounted chippers were associated with higher vibration values, while tractor-trailer chippers had higher noise level; Chipping hardwood produced higher vibration magnitudes than softwood; Vibration and noise values in most cases did not exceed the exposure limit values set by the European Union.
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During chipping, machine operators are exposed to whole-body vibration and noise bearing a risk to health. Vibration on the operator’s seat and noise inside the chipper cab was measured and analyzed. The factorial design considered two setup variants (tractor-trailer and truck-mounted) of two chipper models from different manufacturers during chipping of softwood and hardwood tree species. Furthermore, exposure to noise was measured during chipping of hardwood. Vibration and noise during chipping, driving between wood piles, and operational delays were measured separately. The results associated truck-mounted chippers with higher vibration values and tractor-trailer chippers with higher noise levels. The highest vibration levels were recorded while driving on the forest road from one log pile to another and the second highest during chipping. On the contrary, the lowest vibration levels were measured during operational delays with the chipper in idling condition. Chipping hardwood produced higher vibration magnitudes than softwood. Exposure to noise was significantly higher during chipping compared to driving and operational delays. Vibration and noise data were combined with time studies data, for the calculation of eight-hour energy equivalent total values, both for vibration and noise. In all cases, the exposure limit values set by the European Union were not exceeded, with the exception of truck-mounted chippers, which are likely to exceed the exposure action value for vibration.