Bison Owner Operator Elwood Rines with Katelyn Oke of NAL Insurance
Bison/NAL Insurance Back to Health Pilot Project
Most believe that the major issues facing the North American trucking industry are the current Driver shortage and ever increasing government regulation. However, we believe that Driver Health and Wellness has the potential to be the most significant operational issue facing trucking companies over the next two to three decades.
Demographics (particularly age) combined with sub par lifestyle conditions for many Over the Road Professional Drivers, could prove to be a massive blow to our already challenged Industry. With this growing issue in mind, NAL Insurance, in partnership with Bison Transport, established a pilot project during 2013 which focuses primarily on one important aspect of Driver health – the back. Having already invested heavily in testing 65 Bose® Ride systems during 2013, Bison Transport had already determined that this pilot would be a valid pursuit.
The Bose® Ride system combats whole body vibration, an issue with conventional truck and seat suspension systems. In a conventional seat, truck drivers are exposed to excessive levels of bouncing, jarring and shaking—a condition researchers call whole-body vibration. The consequences include back pain, spinal degradation, soreness and fatigue. Bose Ride System details.
NAL and Bison launched a contest in the early summer of 2013 which asked Bison Owner Operators to submit answers to a questionnaire, along with a short essay as part of the selection process to receive a Bose® Ride system (value $7,000 MSRP). At the completion of the selection process, three people were chosen. The first Owner Operator, Elwood Rines, had a significant history of low back pain coupled with over 35 years on the road. The second and third chosen were the husband and wife team of Cynthia and George Sutherland. Cynthia and George, prior to 2012, were faced with serious health-related issues. To combat these issues, they enrolled in a Weight Loss Challenge sponsored by Bison Transport and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), (click here for video). Together they lost a significant amount of weight, and in the process, changed their lives forever. By choosing them, George and Cynthia were able to continue their momentum on their path to an even healthier future.
Apart from the ‘feel good’ aspects of the pilot project, the primary goal is to determine the short and long term benefits of the Bose® Ride system. Specifically, if Drivers with a previous history of low back conditions/injuries were able to experience a reduction in ongoing pain, increased energy levels and a general improvement in mobility. The initial hypothesis being that if the above can be accomplished, the use of the Bose® Ride system can be actively implemented with current insurance claimants, and also offered to existing customers at a reduced cost to help prevent future back related claims.
Initial Results (First Two Months)
After completion of a thorough functional abilities evaluation exam at a respected medical clinic (Altum Health), a baseline for the current overall health of the participants was established. The seats were installed in the participant’s trucks in November and so far the results have exceeded expectations. See below for personal testimonials from the participants:
“After the first week my lower back pain from sitting for 2-4 hrs was greatly reduced. Now a month later it’s great to get up and not to feel a major back cramp or muscle pain. I’m feeling energized and not as tired at the end of the day as well. It’s nice not to have to relax for a day after returning from a week on the road, feeling rested and relaxed, not tired and stiff as in the past.”
Elwood Rines, Owner Operator – Bison Transport
“Not only is the Bose® Ride System comfortable, but I found that my legs were not bothering me as much (as they used to).My knees used to be very stiff when I went to get out of the truck. The Bose ® Ride System has also improved my posture and I find that my hips are not sore at the end of my shift.”
Cindy Sutherland, Owner Operator – Bison Transport
“Lower back pains have gone away, and when I get out of the truck my muscles are not stiff from sitting. The Bose® Ride System is always turned on in our truck because it makes driving more relaxing and comfortable. I believe the Bose® Ride System will extend my driving career by absorbing the vibrations into the seat instead of my back.”
George Sutherland, Owner Operator – Bison Transport
“Bison’s Bose® Ride system program, as well as this pilot program with NAL has yielded exceptional results to date. We firmly believe that the use of these seats can significantly improve the health and well-being of our Drivers and Owner Operators. Another important benefit is that Drivers are reporting a heightened ability to identify a safety incident on the road.”
Garth Pitzel, Director – Safety and Driver Development – Bison Transport
About the Authors
Katelyn is a Project and Risk Manager with NAL Insurance, the leading provider of WSIB/WCB Alternative Insurance solutions in Canada
Chris Henry is Vice President & General Manager of NAL Insurance, the leading provider of WSIB/WCB alternative insurance solutions in Canada.