BLE aids "whole body vibration" research

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers recently contracted with Dr. Eckard Johanning to perform research on the level of vibration inside locomotive cabs and its effects on train crew members. Dr. Johanning gave a presentation to BLE members at the Eastern Union Meeting Association's opening ceremony on August 19.

Dr. Johanning's research suggests that high levels of whole body vibration, coupled with inadequate seats, may cause chronic back pain and other injuries among operating crew members.

Following internationally accepted measurement guidelines, Dr. Johanning's team measured vibration levels inside 22 diffrent U.S. locomotives during normal revenue service.

The report concludes, "Tested locomotive cabs currently in use (new or old) appear inadequate to reduce potentially harmful vibration and shocks transmitted to the operator..."

The results of his research are published in the July 2002 issue (Vol. 63, No. 4) of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Journal. To read an online version of the article, go to, and click on "publications/advertising," and then click on "AIHA Journal online."

In his published report, Dr. Johanning acknowledges the BLE for assisting in the research, and, along with the railroads, providing access to conduct his research.


Dr. Eckard Johanning


© 2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers