An Impactful Step: The Effects of Whole-Body Vibration on Farm Machinery Egress

Study Description

Farming is a hazardous occupation with high rates of injury and pain in the lower limb. This is concerning for the Saskatchewan agricultural workforce, as operating large farming equipment requires repeated entering and exiting (egress) of machines. Farm machinery egress can result in acute injuries, but could also play a role in conditions such as osteoarthritis. This research will provide a better understanding of lower limb joint loading during machinery egress to reduce injury risk.

 
Three main questions will be answered by this project: 1) how do the joint load demands of machinery egress compare to injury risk models; 2) do these joint loads differ with direction of egress (facing in or facing out) or after exposure to machinery vibration; and 3) can we predict joint loads using key variables. Data from measured forces acting on the body and movement patterns during egress will be used to create a computer model of the lower limb to estimate force levels experienced by the ankle, knee, and hip. These joint level forces will be used to assess injury risk during this task.
 
Deeper understanding of joint loading during machinery egress is required to inform machinery design and motivate the use of ‘best practices’. This project will provide vital insights needed to improve the health and sustainability of the Saskatchewan farming population. Findings from this work will enable current and future generations of farmers to benefit from safer working practices and machinery design to reduce injury and pain in the lower limb.”

The "Impactful Step" project was funded by a Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation postdoctoral fellowship awarded to Dr David Kingston.  Dr Kingston and his project were awarded the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Top Fellowship, Socio-Health for his project  titled “An impactful step: Investigating lower limb joint loads during farm machinery egress”.   This project is en extension of the Shake and Break Project described below. 

 

Experimental Apparatus: Tractor Cab Simulator

The tractor vibration simulator (TVS) is the key apparatus for this study. It enables us to mimic agricultural mobile machinery operations in the Ergonomics Lab.

behzadtractor labtractor

      

Shake and Break Project

The original "Shake and Break study" investigated the effects of whole-body vibration on egress from agricultural vehicles by: 1) developing an agricultural tractor test paradigm for whole-body vibration and egress; and 2) conducting lab-based experiments to compare standing balance stability and foot pressure during egress before and after exposure to seated whole-body vibration. The 'Shake and Break' project was funded by a Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation postdoctoral fellowship awarded to Dr Behzad Bashiri

The research team was originaly looking for healthy volunteers (older than 18 years) with agricultural tractor driving experience to take part in a study. Your participation will involve experiencing vibrations on the tractor vibration simulator and performing physical tests.  The tractor vibration simulator will move and vibrate similarly to driving an agricultural tractor on a farm. We will place sensors on your back, shoulders, arms, legs, and under your feet to measure various parameters such as your lower limb joint angles and feet pressure during exit after exposure to vibration.

Vibration Lab Schedule

Want to find out when we are doing vibration testing in the lab? Check out our calendar!

Publications

Stay tuned - this study is in progress!