Driving Ergonomics

Risk management filter

The information provided on this page can be used to identify drivers at increased risk of developing MSDs. Once such drivers have been identified, training tailored to meet the needs of drivers and the organisation can be developed.

The following stages have been developed through the research team's involvement with a number of research projects, and work with organisations. It is important to emphasise that this does not constitute a full risk assessment related to business drivers.

Stage 1: Intial Risk Assessment (questionnaire) - for all drivers

The first stage of the filter system involves all drivers completing an ‘Initial risk assessment’ through the completion of a short questionnaire. Items could include:

Following this, those drivers who are at increased risk of developing MSDs as a result of business driving (both in terms of mileage and working from the car) can be identified. These drivers should proceed to Stage 2 of the filter.

Stage 2: Detailed Risk Assessment (interview) - for drivers at risk

Those drivers identified as at risk from the ‘initial risk assessment’ should be interviewed to determine the extent of this risk. Information from the ‘initial risk assessment’ should be used alongside additional information, for example, driver anthropometry, driver posture and seat design. It may also be advisable for a member of the occupational health team to observe the work tasks carried out by the drivers, which may increase risk, for example, manual handling from the car. This information can be used to identify drivers who require urgent action and who should proceed to Stage 3.

Stage 3: Urgent Action

Drivers with severe pain or a medical history of low back injury, those with an inappropriate car, high driving exposure or other risk factors such as manual handling need continuing support until their risk is deemed to be low.

Information from the ‘initial risk assessment’ and the ‘detailed risk assessment’ should be considered as part of an integrated approach which, where appropriate, includes; additional training, medical input, a reduction in driving, a change of car, change in work tasks (e.g. reduction in manual handling), a change of lifestyle or specialist advice (e.g. ergonomist or physiotherapist).