How to preserve the health of farm tractor operators?

By Maria Luiza De Grandi, journalist of Ciência Rural journal, Santa Maria, RS, and  Viviane Castro Da Silva, Agronomist, Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC), Fortaleza, CE, BrazilLogo do periódico Ciência rural

Do you know the negative effects that the use of farm tractors has on the health of the operator of these machines? One of the main effects, which causes many health problems in the operators, is the vibration produced by the tractor operation. Aware of this problem, researchers from the Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC) in partnership with the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Ceará evaluated the transmissibility of vibrations in agricultural equipment used for periodic soil preparation. The article “Change in whole body vibration in operators by the use of agricultural tillage equipment” was published in Ciência Rural journal (vol. 49, no. 11).

In the research, we used a 4×2 TDA tractor with coupled periodic tillage equipment (disc-plow tractor, moldboard tractor-off-set tractor, rotary-hoe tractor, ripper-tractor) and a tractor without coupled equipment at two travel speeds. All devices used in the survey showed an increase in body vibration incident on the operator.

The disc-tractor plow set revealed the highest vibration intensity accompanied by the highest risk of operator health damage for an 8-hour business day. Under the conditions of the evaluation, the tractor-plow set presented the lowest amplification of vibrations and health risks for an 8-hour working day.

The tests performed during the research were conducted following the guidelines established by the NHO-09 (Occupational Exposure to Whole Body Vibration) standard (FUNDACENTRO, 2013), as well as to Annex A (Field Measurements) of NBR ISO wheels and field machines. 5008 – (Measurement of vibration transmitted to the entire body of the operator), which specifies the measurements on agricultural tractors (ABNT, 2015).

According to Viviane Castro dos Santos, the research helps the equipment evaluation, allowing a verification of the working conditions with certain equipment, increasing the safety of the operators and improving the quality of work. Since there are no previous methods of evaluating the influence of tractor-coupled agricultural equipment on operator-incident full-body vibrations, the research is groundbreaking in the field.


ASSOCIAÇÃO BRASILEIRA DE NORMAS TÉCNICAS. NBR ISO 5008: Tratores agrícolas de rodas e máquinas de campo – Medição da vibração transmitida ao corpo inteiro do operador. 2015.

FUNDACENTRO. Norma de higiene ocupacional (NHO-09): avaliação da exposição ocupacional a vibrações de corpo inteiro: procedimento técnico. São Paulo: Fundacentro, 2013. Available from:

To read the article, access it

SANTOS, V.C., et al. Whole body vibration in operators using agricultural soil preparation equipment. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2019, vol. 49, no. 11, e20190109, ISSN: 0103-8478 [viewed 7 January 2020]. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20190109. Available from:

External links

Ciência Rural – CR: <>


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

DE GRANDI, M.L. and SANTOS, V.C. How to preserve the health of farm tractor operators? [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2020 [viewed ]. Available from:


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