17 May 2016 – With back trouble just as prevalent as the common cold in the UK, affecting 4 out of 5 adults, it is estimated that 14 million UK drivers regularly suffer from Repetitive Driving Injury (RDI), thanks to poor posture and sitting incorrectly in their cars. Such injuries have resulted in millions of working days being lost, accumulating in organisations losing over £1 billion each year.
Longer commuting distances and increased business travel are becoming ‘the norm’ for a generation of highly mobile workers, with some ‘extreme’ commuters and regular business travellers going far beyond the UK average of 51 minutes per day. So Alphabet is urging organisations to encourage their employees to make sure they know how to adjust the seat in their vehicles to create the optimum driving position. Some basic knowledge can save a lot of pain and working time lost, so Alphabet has produced an ‘Are you sitting comfortably?’ guide to help drivers ensure they are in the best seating position for their posture.
In a bid to promote better employee health and greater safety for fleets, Adam Lupton, HR Director at Alphabet shares these five simple steps to ensure business drivers remain comfortable, safe and pain-free:
- Seat Position: The seat should be far enough forward with the driver’s knee bent slightly when extending the clutch or accelerator. The driver’s thighs should extend past the seat so the back of the knee does not make contact with the seat (if possible).
- Seat Back: The seat should be tilted back slightly (between 100-110 degrees) to decrease pressure on the lower back. If the vehicle has it, lumbar support should be adjusted to fit around the spine
- Seat Height: The height of the seat should be adjusted so the road, dashboard and mirrors can be clearly seen. Slouching or a bad seating position may mean a driver can’t see their mirrors or have full visibility around the vehicle.
- Head Rest: Ensure the head rest is positioned correctly so it supports the head. If it is positioned too low it could cause life threatening injuries in the event of an accident
- Steering Wheel: The steering wheel should be positioned down and towards the driver so that their arms are not outstretched. Holding the wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock relaxes the shoulder muscles.
Lupton comments: “Although these tips may seem simple and obvious to some, many of us spend more than an hour every day in our cars and often forget the long-term effect this can have on our back and neck. How to adjust the seating is detailed in a vehicle handbook, but many drivers might not actually know what a correct driving position should be to help them reduce Repetitive Driving Injuries (RDI).
By publishing our ‘Are you sitting comfortably?’ drivers guide we hope we can help employees avoid RDIs and assist businesses in reducing the number of working days lost to them. Remembering these 5 simple tips can help drivers improve their own comfort and safety when they travel, whether that’s in their own company car, a rental vehicle, a pool car or a corporate car-sharing programme like AlphaCity. Forward thinking organisations understand the value of positive ergonomics in the workplace and these practical, simple steps will help promote a similar approach while commuting or travelling on business.”