NIOSH Publishes First Federal Anthropometric Study of U.S. Truck Drivers
In April, NIOSH published the results of the first-ever federal anthropometric study of U.S. truck drivers, which the agency initiated in 2006 due to a lack of up-to-date anthropometric data for these workers. Between 2009 and 2010, NIOSH collected data on 1,779 male and 171 female truck drivers in 15 states across the continental U.S. Researchers found that, on average, truck drivers were larger and heavier than individuals in the general population by 13.5 kg for males and 15.4 kg for females. Today’s male drivers are approximately 12 kg heavier and larger in body width and girth compared to male truck drivers 25 to 30 years ago. NIOSH was unable to make the same comparison for female drivers due to the small sample size for female truck drivers in previous studies. NIOSH intends for the data from this study to be used by truck manufacturers, parts suppliers, transportation researchers, fleet managers, and others to help improve the ergonomic design of the next generation of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The study used the Multivariate Accommodation Model (MAM) approach to select 15 body models each for male and female truck drivers. According to NIOSH, MAM uses principal component analysis to reduce a large number of body dimensions to a smaller number of variables or principal components. Researchers selected this approach to help facilitate truck cab design. The new NIOSH publication, Anthropometric Study of U.S. Truck Drivers: Methods, Summary Statistics, and Multivariate Accommodation Models, is available on the agency's website.