Work Vehicle Safety: Eliminating Hazardous Activities While
Safely Improving Productivity
Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health
August 19, 2020 |
Presented By: Andrew S Merryweather, PhD
There is high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and fall injuries among employees in work vehicle environments, yet little attention is given to understanding why. Effective ergonomic interventions can lower the physical demands of work tasks, thereby lowering the incidence and severity of associated MSDs. Reducing injury related costs alone make ergonomic interventions a useful tool for improving a company’s productivity and overall business competitiveness. Preventing injuries by improving access to objects stored in a vehicle requires rethinking traditional storage systems. This presentation highlights 10 common work tasks in and around a truck bed and how to reduce or eliminate the 5 most hazardous activities through engineering solutions and training, without compromising safety. A biomechanics study and risk assessment were performed comparing a DECKED drawer system with a cross-over truck tool box. Research findings are further supported by case studies and user feedback.
At the completion of this activity, the learner will be able to:
Identify elements of MSD risk that are associated with work vehicle environments
Discuss strategies to prevent exposure to high risk activities when working from a vehicle
Develop a method to evaluate work vehicle ergonomics and teach others about risk avoidance strategies
Determine how engineering solutions can improve vehicle workspace utilization and accessibility
Andrew S. Merryweather is director of the Ergonomics and Safety Program at the University of Utah and Associate Professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering. He is also an adjunct associate professor in the departments of Family and Preventative Medicine and Physical Therapy and Athletic Training. He teaches and directs research in the areas of biomechanics, human factors, musculoskeletal injury prevention, and human-system modeling. Dr. Merryweather obtained his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah in 2008 as a NIOSH Trainee in Occupational Injury Prevention. Dr. Merryweather is engaged in team science and has worked with researchers from multiple disciplines and industry partners to address safety and health problems in the workplace. He has received numerous honors & awards, including the University of Utah's Distinguished Faculty Service Award (2020) and was recognized as an outstanding teacher by the College of Engineering on multiple occasions. He was awarded along with his colleagues the 2017 IEA/Liberty Mutual Medal for original research titled “Relationships between job organizational factors, biomechanical and psychosocial exposures”.
Special Thanks to Our ERC Partners at Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health