Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Driving Trimet transit buses will kill you

I just wanted everyone to be aware of the unsafe work conditions due to the poor design of some of our buses along with the repetitive motion that we perform hundreds of times per day. If you would in either a sitting position or standing with your back straight and shoulders level turn your head to the right as far as you can without straining then tilt your head back. This is the position that you would want to avoid every time you reach for the kneel switch or the ramp switch or for the display screen when entering fares. Notice how your head is turned to the right while your upper body is leaning forward as much as 45 degrees with your eyes level when either checking the door or fares.  Now think of how many times in that position have you had passengers walk past you showing their transfers with your eyes following and turning your head further to the right trying to read the day code or time.
This puts excessive wear and tear on the C5, C6, and C7 on the right side of your neck which may show up as arthritis, now combine that with the 3000 series buses at the Powell garage and Center with the display screen too far forward and too low causing an overreaching or hyperextension of your right arm causing tingling or numbness in your right hand, with me it was the thumb, index and middle finger, as well as headaches. As you may know TriMet has spent about $1,000,000,00 to reposition the display screens. They're also having the newer buses redesigned to have the kneel switch to the left side of the drivers seat mounted on the control handle used to open the doors which is great news, but a little too late because we have operators with permanent injuries and WC claims denied. I first noticed the tingling in my right hand driving the 3000 series bus on line 72  heading inbound on Killingsworth. I'd find myself shaking my hand while driving to rid myself of the tingling. It got to the point that my fingers started tingling every time I would reach out my right arm for anything. One day while driving downtown on the 19 line turning my head to the right reaching with my right arm I had the feeling of a pop or the feeling when you grind your teeth on the lower right side of my neck. I didn't think much of it at the time but for the next two weeks I had unbelievable pain all the way down my arm with the greatest pain in my forearm. My three fingers became numb and swollen to the point where I couldn't close my hand. Once I was treated at Kaisers Work Occupation and put on light duty my WC claim was denied. If you're having the same problems or having the same symptoms and you can't figure out why, then don't feel alone because we have other operators who were in the dark until they noticed other operators with same problem. If you need help resolving this problem please call Dennis O'Malley my attorney who is well aware of the problem. You can reach Dennis at 503 243-4899

Before the display screens were relocated I made up about 75 wood dowels about 17" long with erasers glued at each end to use for punching in the fares on the display screen. It made a huge difference for those in pain like kathy below. 

Please share this with everyone so that we can get the word out about this serious problem. Thank you for your help.

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