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Employees are spending longer hours behind the wheel due to our increasingly mobile and connected workforce. Whether it’s providing business to business services or commuting between offices, workers are clocking up substantial weekly figures on their odometers. This increase of time spent in the car means that it is important for employers to be aware of vehicle ergonomics. Much like office ergonomics, vehicle ergonomic assessments ensure the driver’s comfort and safety is prioritised to decrease the risk of injury1.

Spending long periods of time in a vehicle increases your risk of experiencing discomfort or body aches. It is difficult to change position when driving which means it is almost impossible to avoid discomfort without vehicle ergonomic assessments. Furthermore, aches and discomfort due to driving can increase the risk of physical injury and musculoskeletal disorder. For this reason, it is important to ensure that all workers are provided with education and advice on driving ergonomics. Small changes in the way the vehicle is set up can make a huge difference to a worker’s long-term health. It is also important to note that poor vehicle ergonomics increase driver fatigue, a key contributor to accidents on the road.

Driver warning signs and injury

Sustaining an injury while driving is not exclusive to those who drive all day long. Anyone who drives regularly is also at risk of suffering discomfort and subsequent injury. Workers operating vehicles are more at risk of musculoskeletal disorders than those sitting in an office. This is due to the added effect of vehicle vibration and movement and the impact that has on the body. Some driver warning signs include:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Neck strains
  • Foot cramps
  • Lumbar pains
  • Side aches
  • Shoulder pains
  • Knee pains
  • Pins and needles
  • Muscle and joint stiffness

Although the above are minor injuries, without appropriate intervention they can lead to deterioration of spinal health and life-long suffering.

Common causes of driver injury

Sitting posture

Similar to office ergonomics, sitting for long periods of time in a vehicle is the number one cause of driver injury. Incorrect posture is often a result of an improperly adjusted seat. Adjusting the seat height and distance from the steering wheel through vehicle ergonomic assessments is an effective method to combat this.

Vehicle vibrations

Vehicle vibrations have the potential to cause back pain in drivers. To minimise the risk of injury, it is possible to include extra seat padding in the vehicle to absorb the vibrations.

Seat shape

Sometimes the shape of the vehicle seat can cause pain at pressure points in your body. If this is the case, ergonomically correct seats can be fitted into the vehicle to prevent this.

How can KINNECT help?

KINNECT’s vehicle ergonomic assessment and training programs are designed to educate workers throughout Australia on correct ergonomic principles. In addition to this, KINNECT assesses each vehicle to ensure it is correctly set up for the specific employee. Correct set up minimises the risk of injury, facilitates health and well-being, and enhances productivity and performance.

The assessments are completed by Allied Health professionals (Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Accredited Exercise Physiologists) experienced in the delivery of ergonomic solutions. The vehicles that we can assess range from commercial passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, forklifts, cranes and plant equipment.

KINNECT can perform vehicle ergonomic assessments at our office locations or onsite at your workplace. We have ergonomic consultants available in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Sunshine coast, Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone. We will also service all locations within 3 hours drive of the above areas.

Depending on the complexity of the assessment, a vehicle ergonomic assessment can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes.



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