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|The prolonged exposure of equipment operators to shock and whole-body vibration (WBV) is linked to cumulative back, neck and abdominal disorders. In low coal mines, space restrictions make it difficult for seat suspensions to isolate operators from shock and WBV. Researchers at NIOSH's Pittsburgh Research Laboratory are responding to these issues by investigating viscoelastic foams. For the full-load case, an ergonomic seat made with viscoelastic foams can isolate the shuttle-car operator from shock at 15 Hz. Researchers used results from additional foam testing using an analytical model to identify viscoelastic foams that provide shock isolation at a frequency below 5 Hz.|