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Researchers Need Your Help to Tackle Truck Driving Vibration

Posted: July 15, 2015

WATERLOO, ON — Now is your opportunity to take part in a research study that aims to address a serious problem truckers face everyday, vibration in trucks and the seats drivers use.

A collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Waterloo, along with the MFL Occupational Centre and the Manitoba Trucking Association, is looking for both fleets and drivers that will allow them measure the vibration in trucks along different Manitoba roadways while comparing different types of seats.

There is clear evidence that long-term seated exposure to whole body vibration (WBV) leads to low back pain and disability, according to Nicolette Carlan, project coordinator at the University of Waterloo.

“Vibration exposures exacerbate the risk of low back injury in truck drivers as vibration desensitizes the neuromotor system, resulting in inability to accurately sense low back posture and quickly respond to unexpected spinal loading caused by getting in and out of a truck cab or sudden heavy lifting,” she said. “In addition to low back injury and disability, seated exposure to vibration, causing an increase incidence of low back pain, has been shown to lead to decreased wakefulness and decreases performance in perceptual tasks, increasing the risk of collisions.

Researchers want to attach equipment to truck seats to measure the vibration experienced by drivers, according to the Manitoba Trucking Association, while drivers will be asked about their work experience and general health. Those that participate will be given gift cards for their time.

According to MTA, companies that become involved in the project will benefit from the results of the research including learning about differences in the types of truck seats, road conditions and other variables to improve their health and safety programs. It may also help improve the working conditions for drivers, which in the long term, can increase driver satisfaction, reduce injuries and lost work days along with making companies more productive.

The project has three main goals:

  • To evaluate the vibration in a variety of seats commonly used by truck drivers of all types, including long-haul, short-haul, highway, city and secondary roads.
  • To test new anti-vibration seats in a laboratory and compare the findings to the real world vibration effecting truck drivers.
  • To develop ways that researchers can effectively share the results of their findings with the transportation industry.

It is estimated it will take about two years to complete the project.

For more information on the project, including arranging to participate, contact Nicolette Carlan at 519-739-3049 or email her at ncarlan@uwaterloo.ca

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