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The ergonomic evaluation used in this study involves a number of activities on the snowmobile. These activities include measuring dimensions and adjusting the ranges of major components of snowmobiles, such as the steering bar, the seat, the throttle and handle grip. In addition, determination of the amount of force needed to depress the throttle was also measured. Another activity involves comparing the physical measurements of the machines with those described in a previous study of Norwegian workers (HHE Report, 2001).
The author of this study has also evaluated several snowmobiles and makes various adjustments aimed at minimizing health risks to snowmobile users. This study has also measured throttle forces at half and fully depressed positions. Researchers finally take photographs and videos while on their snowmobiles at each position (HHE Report, 2001).
This is a quantitative research. This is because the researchers are out to gather data using scientific methods such as taking measurements in order to establish quantitative properties of the snowmobile (Creswell, 2008). The researchers take various measurements, including throttle forces at different positions, with a view to establishing mathematical models and theories that would lead to the production of snowmobiles that pose minimal threats to the health of users.
This study has made various findings and recommendations. The study reveals that using snowmobiles causes musculo-skeletal problems among park personnel. The comparison of the results of the diagnostic tests, whole body vibration and medical interviews clearly raise an alarm on the dangers of using snowmobiles. Moreover, some of the participants also exhibit certain abnormalities at various frequencies during the tests. The research has also discovered that the forces needed to depress the throttle consume about 79% of the energy exerted by males and 100% in women (HHE Report, 2001). Consequently, there is need to provide some relief for the thumb.
The research further reveals more anomalies. The diameter of the hand grip, for example, is smaller than recommended. This is aggravated by the wearing of gloves, which inevitably increase the amount of force needed to maneuver the snowmobile (HHE Report, 2001). For this reason, there must be changes in the use of snowmobiles so as to reduce the health risks that users are exposed to. In view of this, the study makes some valuable recommendations. The recommendations include the customization of snowmobiles to suit each type of user and redesigning throttle control mechanisms so that activation does not require the thumb to apply pressure.
I have learnt various things from this study. First, snowmobiles pose health risks to users, as has been revealed in this research. Consequently, there is need to redesign them in a manner that suits individual users. Secondly, it is important to limit the time spent riding the snowmobiles so as to cut down on the amount of risk posed. It is also useful to sensitize personnel concerning the signs and symptoms of musculo-skeletal disorders so that when they set in, they can be treated at the early stage, nipping them in the bud.
Nevertheless, the study should have also investigated some of their findings. A case in point is where they find that most of the snowmobiles have the diameter of their hand grips dangerously reduced, posing grave danger to snowmobile riders. The study should find out how the manufacturers of the snowmobiles are responding to the obvious health risks that their machines are posing to users. Otherwise, the study was comprehensive and proved its hypothesis that states that snowmobiles are causing musculo-skeletal problems to users.
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