Hauling Industry News

Truck ergonomics, awareness and solutions

By Pulltarps Mfg | August 1, 2019

Story by Carol Birkland / www.trucker.com

Whether it’s a long haul or a short drive, truck driving is one of the hardest jobs on the body. Drivers often suffer from injuries and accidents that could be prevented by proper ergonomics.

Things like sitting too close to the steering wheel can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain attributed to extended hours on the road. The profession also lends itself to injuries from pushing, pulling, lifting, and/or bending.

The results are used by truck manufacturers to design more accommodating, safer truck cabs along with introducing more ergo­nomic solutions that not only increase vehicle safety but also improve driver comfort.

Fleets and drivers are also more aware of possible solutions, such as selecting a vehicle that matches the requirements for the size of the driver’s body and any physical limitations the driver may have.

Nic Signorini, director of supply management at Ryder System Inc., points out that OEMs have made a deliberate effort to improve the overall design and ergonomic features in the products they offer. That includes anything from larger windshields and windows to improve visibility to adjustable features such as tilt and telescoping steering wheels, seat belts, cup holders, and controls.

“It provides drivers access to what they need with as little effort as possible while avoiding fatigue and distraction,” Signorini said. “Having a wide range of seating options is also very important given the long hours of service that drivers put in.”

Ryder configures a comfortable and adjustable air-ride, hi-back seat by default and offers customers options to upgrade to seats with even more flexibility and features.

“Drivers spend a lot of time in the cab, and driver stature and body shape can vary greatly,” Signorini said. “Offering adjustable settings so that drivers can optimize their driving positions to maximize comfort can help minimize fatigue and bad posture. Features like adjustable damping, air lumbar support, back cyclers, and heating elements can also help increase comfort and avoid injuries.”