Saskatchewan's agricultural, mining, construction, and transportation workers commonly experience physical shaking, jarring, and sudden movements as part of their work. Such exposure to whole body vibration (WBV) is a risk factor for many chronic health conditions including low back pain, musculoskeletal issues, balance disturbances, digestion problems, and prostate disorders. WBV may also negatively affect performance, which can lead to fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries and accidents, including equipment-related injuries, falls, and vehicle collisions. For instance, 10.7% of all compensation time-loss claims were from vehicle-related injuries. And although current WBV exposure guidelines were designed to prevent long-term musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort, it is uncertain whether these standards protect workers from short-term effects.
Dr. Yung’s postdoctoral fellowship will evaluate the effects of current WBV standards on short-term human performance. By exploring the relationships between WBV and various aspects of performance, the study will clarify the suitability of current WBV guidelines to lessen short-term effects, and contribute to the development of recommendations that will improve working conditions for a safer and healthier Saskatchewan.