Take a Break from the Shake: Evaluating controlled vibration exposure and rest-break interventions

Study Description

Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in Canada. The number of fatal and preventable injuries or near misses (slips, trips, and/or falls) and hospitalizations in agriculture is still very high despite increased mechanization.  

Machinery use in agriculture exposes operators to extensive vibrations during machinery operation. Excessive vibration can lead to disturbances in reaction time and balance, as well as increase the risk of developing back and neck pain.  

The goal of this study is to determine whether a variety of short rest and activity breaks while using farm machinery can reduce these negative health effects.

This project was just featured in the Western Producer: 


How to Get Involved

We are currently looking for study participants.  

Participants eligibility includes: 

  • Be 18 years or older 
  • Have a minimum of 1 year (1 growing season) of agricultural or heavy machinery use 
  • Have no work-related injuries within the past 6 months 

You don’t need to be a current agricultural equipment operator, but we’re especially looking for current farmers, ranchers, and heavy machinery or equipment operators.  

As a participant, you would be asked to:  

  • Participate in up to 5 vibration exposure lab sessions: 
    • Sessions will take place in the Ergonomics Lab, USask Campus 
    • Sessions are 2 hours long, and include 1 hour of whole-body vibration exposure 
    • Participants will be asked to perform a guided rest break intervention activity 
    • We’ll measure balance and reaction time before and after vibration exposure 
  • Participate in an interview at the completion of the in-lab vibration sessions 
    • Interview will be 1 hour and conducted by a third party 
    • To discuss the study interventions and collect data about what we may have missed or overlooked before taking our results to the field 
  • Participate in a demographics and safety survey 
    • Survey will take 20 to 45mins and can be done at participant’s convenience 
    • Includes questions regarding farming operation size and safety habits 

Participants will be compensated for their time.  

For more information

For more information, or to volunteer please contact: 

Dr. Dena Burnett

email: dena.burnett@usask.ca 

phone: 306-241-8727