Author(s): Gigure D, Marchand D
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Abstract Injuries related to emergency vehicles represent 19\% of compensated work accidents for fire fighters, 37\% of which occur while stepping down from their vehicles. This study compared the impact forces, the use of upper limbs and the perception of danger of fire fighters as they step down from five different locations on fire trucks. The results show that stepping down from the crew cab facing the street produces impact forces averaging 3.2 times the subject's body weight, but is also perceived as the safest way to descend in one of the two groups of fire fighters that participated in the study. Stepping down from the same location, but facing the truck, produced significantly less impact force and a better distribution of the energy over time. This may be achieved through better control of the descending leg, ankle flexion, and the use of grab bars. A re-design of the access to emergency vehicles should take into account both the safety needs and reduction in biomechanical stress of fire fighters.
This article was published in Appl Ergon
and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics