Near-Term Ideas to Address Aircrew Helmet Systems-Induced Neck Pain – Mitigating Neck Pain in Aircrew

Idées à court terme en vue d’atténuer les douleurs au cou attribuables aux systèmes de casque chez le personnel navigant – Réduire les douleurs au cou chez le personnel navigant

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Authors
  1. Fischer, S.L.
  2. Stevenson, J.M.
  3. Albert, W.J.
  4. Harrison, M.F.
  5. Bryant, T.
  6. Beach, T.A.C.
  7. Reid, S.A.
  8. Coffey, B.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Queen's Univ, Kingston Ont (CAN) Canadian Institute for Military & Veteran Health Research
Abstract
Neck pain is a growing concern among CH-146 Griffon aircrew. A simple, yet practical on-body elastomer-balanced helmet system is provided as one of several feasible near-term solutions to alleviate the neck pain problem. Following a rapid work domain assessment of the operational environment of CH-146 Griffon aircrew and an ergonomic hazard screen, the research team identified that sustained static postures (pilots) and extreme awkward postures (flight engineer) were primary risks. Moreover, the level of risk increases considerably with the additional head-borne mass of the night vision goggles system (NVGs). The addition of the NVGs increases the total mass on the head, adding more compressive load on the neck and requiring more work from the neck muscles in order to control and stabilize the head. Additionally, the NVGs alters the balance of forces acting about the head and neck joint (atlanto-occipital joint), requiring the small upper neck muscles to work even harder. The ideal solution entails a combination of redesigning the cockpit, cabin and helmet system. However, in the near-term the on-body elastomer-balanced helmet system provides an interim improvement. This counter measure provides a balancing force through the elastomer, off-loading the work from the neck muscles. In addition the total head-borne load is also reduced compared to the current weight based counter balancing method.

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Keywords
neck pain;neck strain;NVG;night vision goggles;HUD;heads up display;head borne mass;head mounted mass;pilot;flight engineer;CH-146 Griffon helicopter;FE
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2013-039 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Mar 2013
Number of Pages
83
DSTKIM No
CA038273
CANDIS No
538345
Format(s):
Electronic Document(PDF)

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