The effects of prolonged simulated driving on a simulated occupational lifting in a young and healthy population

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University of New Brunswick


In today’s work force many occupations such as paramedics, long-haul truck drivers and individuals employed with moving companies face complications from bouts of prolonged sitting or driving and are then asked to perform strenuous occupational lifting tasks. These lifting tasks put emergency medical service employees at a four times greater risk of back and trunk injuries than the average worker (Maguire, 2013). Paramedics in low-populous areas much like most of Atlantic Canada, have been shown to spend a significant amount of their working days being sedentary which puts them at risk for development of diseases associated with this behavior (Coffey et al., 2016). To date, there has been no effort in the research community to biomechanically assess the effects of a simulated prolonged driving task on an occupational lifting task. This study evaluated the lifting kinematics and muscle activation during a basic occupational lifting task before and after a three-hour simulated driving task to relate it primarily to paramedic’s occupational duties but also those of long-haul truck driving and moving companies. It was found that there were no changes in upper body lifting kinematics however, there were significant differences in maximum and mean percent activation levels when compared to their 100% maximum voluntary contraction. It was also found that there were significant differences in average and peak pressure as well as contact area on the seat pan when comparing the first and last fifteen minutes of the driving task. The implications of this study could be an indicator of injury risk for EMS personnel and could be used to direct a future study exploring this issue on a larger scale.