• Secular trends

    InterAction of Bath has teamed with TNO, the Dutch research organisation to investigate the impact of human growth trends on the accommodation of armoured vehicle crew and passengers.

    It is well known that human beings are larger than we once were, a secular trend almost entirely due to factors other than genetics, with nutrition being particularly important. A concerning aspect is the rise in obesity. The socio-demographic risk factors for obesity in the general population are well known, but this is not the case for military populations. One might expect that, with the emphasis on ‘fitness for duty’ and a predominantly young cohort, there would be a reduced risk of obesity in the Armed Forces. However, the fact that disadvantaged sections of the population are more likely to be recruited might decrease this effect, since obesity is more common in disadvantaged populations, especially in women.

    Studies of service personnel in the US report that the incidence of Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 kgm-2 or over more than doubled between 1995 and 2005. In the UK the risk of obesity appears to be highest in the Army and Royal Navy amongst older, white personnel of lower ranks. There are obvious implications for the health of Armed Services personnel and for the design of the many systems within which the operators must be integrated. In a detailed study, TNO and the USAF found the weight of pilots had increased considerably, which led to more stringent requirements for the F35/Lighting II ejection seat.

    It is axiomatic that the crew and passengers should be well accommodated in Armoured Vehicles (AVs). Too often, however, a mismatch has been found between the AV design and the actual characteristics of the target population. For this reason, the Armoured Platform Anthropometrics Research Programme (AVARP) aims to develop the policy tools, techniques and methodologies required better to understand the physical integration of crew and passengers in AVs and Dstl is commissioning a study to determine the extent and significance of through-life changes to the fit of Armoured Vehicle crew in the current and future vehicle fleet.

    The project is ongoing.

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  • How 3 Essential Patient Safety Steps Can Prevent Medical Errors

    Mistakes during surgical procedures are the most common medical error in 2013, and LifeWings, a team of international patient safety experts, offers three proven solutions to prevent these traumatic patient-harming events.

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  • Noise-induced hearing loss and vibration project

    We have just about completed our second project for the Defence Human Capability Science and Technology Centre in the area of noise-induced hearing loss and vibration project .

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  • Seminar - The Role of Human Factors in an Ageing Society

    InterAction of Bath is planning a series of seminars for Human Factors and other interested professionals on the role of Human Factors in an ageing society. The purpose is to:

    - provide a forum for discussion and networking

    - promote the use of Human Factors to address issues faced by older people in their work and leisure

    - discuss whether Human Factors can help answer some of the current questions around health- and social care provision.

    If you're intersted in presenting or attending, please contact us for more information.

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  • Shift work: coping with the biological clock

    A University of Surrey study concluded that the lack of sleep experienced by night shift workers interferes with the productivity and can cause health problems including:

    - Obesity

    - Metabolic syndrome (decreased HDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides)

    - Glucose intolerance/diabetes

    - Heart disease and cancer.

    Night shift workers also have more accidents and errors are also more likely. For example, the incidence of seriously improper medical decisions was 36% higher for Interns working extended shifts rather than a traditional shift.

    Performing work tasks when the body is producing hormones that encourage sleep (circadian rhythm desynchrony) is thought to be the underlying reason. Most long-time or permanent night-shift workers do not show adaptation of their circadian rhythm to their work day, and less than a quarter show even partial adaptation. With a marked reduction of daytime sleep hours, night workers appear to be sleep deprived.

    Night shift workers are able to alter their circadian cycle in select work environments when there are no social or family commitments and when there is no natural morning light at the end of their night shift.

    For ergonomists, the study highlights the health and productivity issues related to working nights or extended shifts. While changing work methods can reduce the need to work nights, a night shifts are unavoidable in some industries. According to the author, encouraging an adaptive shift of the worker’s circadian rhythms to coincide with night hours may be favourable, except where there commitmet to night shifts is only brief, when no interference with the normal body rhythms is encouraged outside the use of stimulants such as caffeine.

    Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, is primarily produced during the night-time body state. The concentration of melatonin, which can be measured in the plasma, saliva, or as a urinary metabolite), provides a good indication of the circadian clock time. Modifying the levels of melatonin through the use of light treatment during the 'biological' night could help regulate the sleep/activity cycle. Exercise, social cues, timing of food ingestion and food content also seem to influence the circadian clock to varying degrees. A worker's toal sleep hours could also be increased by taking a low dose of melatonin and lying down in a dark room in the early evening prior to a night work shift.

    Switching from a day shift to a night shift (with a likely 20-24 hours of no sleep), may lead to a performance decrements similar to those associated with having an illegally high blood alcohol level.

    J Arendt

    Occupational Medicine

    http://occmed.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/60/1/10

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  • BIME annual lecture: Moving beyond the pendant alarm – how can technology meet the needs of an ageing population?

    InterAction of Bath will be at the annual BIME (Bath Institute of Medical Engineering) public lecture at the University of Bath on Wednesday 3rd October at 7 pm. Professor Gail Mountain will describe how technology can be used to meet the needs of an ageing population. Read more ...

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  • British athletes parade past InterAction of Bath

    It was another carnival-like atmosphere outside our offices as local members of Britain's Olympic and Paralympic teams paraded through the city on an open-topped bus. InterAction of Bath joins the general celebration for the achievements of Team GB.

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  • Human Error blamed for Fukushima meltdown

    According to a report released on Monday by an independent panel commissioned by the Japanese government, the catastrophic Fukushima reactor meltdowns had less to do with the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March last year and more to do with the failure of the plants owners and the government to anticipate and prepare for emergencies on such an epic scale.

    The report accuses the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of failing to tell the media that the plant's fuel rods had possibly melted, even though it knew this was likely. To counter the risk of further radiation leakage, the removal of the rods from a storage pool at the facility started last week in the first stage of a programme to remove unused and used fuel from the reactor, a process that could take years.

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  • Training course

    Last week we enjoyed delivering another two-day training course at Aspire Consulting in Tamworth. We had a really good time and, from the feedback we received, the good folk at Thales did too.

    Our next course is planned for Bath on the 10th and 11th of September. If you would like to book a place, please call or email us.

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  • Olympic torch

    The Olympic torch visits InterAction of Bath! See the pictures taken from a window in our office.

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