Operating Equipment and Vehicle Ergonomics

From cars to street sweepers to front end loaders, you may be exposing your workers to physical hazards such as static and awkward postures, localized pressure and whole-body vibration. Poor control and display design have also been found to be significant contributing factors in countless motor vehicle and industrial accidents.

workSMART can help your organization by performing

  • Vehicle risk assessments based on function and fit
  • Worker compatibility assessments
  • Evaluation of vehicles as offices
  • Review of fleet vehicles suitability and selection process
  • Policy development for vehicle operation
  • Workforce training including fatigue management (see our Fatigue Management training)

Examples of Poor Vehicle Ergonomics

Case 1

A 6'3" sales rep was driving a company vehicle an average of 4 hours per day. The company purchased new vehicles and for the most part employees were pleased with them. The tall sales rep, however, started experiencing increased pain and discomfort in the low back, neck and shoulders. This contributed to a low back claim and the employee was off work for six weeks. Naturally sales were down as a result, and his coworkers had to increase hours to cover for him. An ergonomic review of his vehicle revealed that the cockpit simply didn't fit his 6'3" frame:

  • His knees were bent considerably and in an uncomfortable position
  • His back was in an unsupported hunched posture, and
  • The roof was too low resulting in him having to hold and unnatural neck position while he was driving

No wonder he was hurting! workSMART was able to provide design spec recommendations for this individual, and rate several models the company was considering purchasing.

Case 2

Consider the garbage truck driver who was killed in BC when his raised gabage box struck a pedestrian overpass while driving down the highway. The accident investigation revealed several design factors that contributed to the accident:

  • Slightly different control panel designs in the four vehicles he typically drove resulted in him inadvertently activating the switch to raise the box instead of a different intended action
  • Due to the motion of the vehicle and lack of any alarm system the driver had no way of knowing of his mistake
  • Fatigue may have been a factor

An ergonomic review of vehicles and operating equipment can prevent these kinds of tragedies. Call workSMART to learn more about how we can help your organization stay safe and work smart! 1-888-932-7955 or info@worksmart.ca.

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