A laboratory vehicle mock-up research work on truck driver’s selected seat position and posture A mathematical model approach with respect to anthropometry, body landmark locations and discomfort

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : KTH

Sammanfattning: Professional truck drivers are highly exposed to fatigue and work related injuries. Truck drivers are common victims of musculoskeletal disorders, frequently suffering from pain symptoms particularly in the neck, shoulder and lower back. This situation is believed to be a contributor to the high absenteeism in this job category. A high percentage of this problem is due to the adoption of an unhealthy driving posture resulting from inappropriate seat design. This incorrect and poor design is owing to the insufficient and obsolete anthropometrical data which has been used for decades for arranging and positioning components in the driver environment.The main objective of the present study was to create and construct a mathematical model which clarifies and predicts the drivers’ comfortable sitting posture and position. It was hypothesized that the length and height characteristics of some body segments as well as the body weight and waist circumference of the driver have a great impact on the selection of a specific sitting posture. The steering wheel positions as well as the pedal/floor locations were hypothesized to be highly correlated to the driver’s selected posture and the corresponding comfort. The effect of the seat position on posture selection and related comfort assessments constituted the other hypothesis of the study which received extra attention.A laboratory experiment on a Scania truck cab mock-up was conducted. The seat track travel along a vertical as well as horizontal forward-backward path was obtained by mounting the seat on the motorized rigid frame which allowed unrestricted vertical and fore-aft travel. The seat cushion angle and backrest angle were adjusted by pivoting the entire seat and backrest around a lateral axis and independently. The pedal components were mounted on a motorized platform, thus allowing unrestricted fore-aft and height travel without any changes in the pedal angles. The steering wheel was mounted on the instrument panel by two independent pneumatic axes which allowed a wide range of adjustments including tilting and moving along the sagittal plane for adjusting the height and distance. The test plan called for 55 international highly experienced heavy truck drivers. The drivers were recruited to span a large range of body weight and stature, in particular to ensure adequate representation of both the extreme as well as the normal group of drivers. The drivers filled in a general information questionnaire before undergoing the anthropometrical measurements and thereafter the test trials. The experiment contained a subset of test conditions with five different trials using random selection sampling procedure. Drivers were asked to adjust the components in a wide range of trajectory according to a written protocol. A sparse set of threedimensional body landmark locations and the corresponding comfort assessments were recorded.As the main part of the result, the mathematical models using multiple regression analyses on selected body landmarks as well as anthropometrical measures were developed which proposed a linear correlation between parameters. The differences between the observed data and the corresponding predicted data using the model were found to be minimal and almost dispensable. Additionally, the drivers preferred to sit in the rearmost position and at a rather high level relative to the rest of the available and adjustable area. Considering the normal adjustable seat area of the cab, only a very small part of the observed Hpoint data lies within this area while a large remaining amount of data lies outside of it. Moreover, the difference between the observation (plotted H-point data) and the neutral H-point was found to be significant. Furthermore, and since some of the data lies almost on the border of the adjustable area, it may indicate a reasonable tendency for even more seat adjustment in the backward direction. A conceptual model consisting of four different parameters was developed and presented in the end. These parameters of the model suggest being as key factors which play a central role on process of decision making regarding the selection of a desirable sitting posture. Any eventual modifications and adjustments for elimination or minimizing discrepancies, biases or obscured factors affecting the quality of the mathematical model would be a case for future study. The investigation of a complete assessment of comfort should be supplemented with an analysis of how many truck drivers are satisfied with the comfort in the end.