At Busworld 2019 Pailton Engineering is offering a potential solution to poor cabin hygiene. The company will explore the idea of a detachable bus steering wheel — a concept designed for infection prevention and the reduction of work-related sickness among the bus and coach driving workforce. Pailton Engineering is welcoming bus manufacturers to discuss the feasibility of this invention at stand 319 in Brussels on October 18-23.
The concept has been designed to alleviate the poor conditions many bus drivers face every day. There are 629 colony-forming units of bacteria on an average steering wheel, compared to just 172 on a toilet seat. Among the most prevalent bacteria found are Staphylococcus and Propionibacterium, which can result in food poisoning. The nature of bus driving rotas and changeovers results in many bus drivers starting their shift in unhygienic conditions, with heightened risks of illness.
Many drivers may rely on anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitiser to reduce the likelihood of sickness, but Pailton Engineering believes more can be done. Busworld will be a chance to discuss the detachable steering wheel concept. If the solution proves viable, Busworld attendees could become the first OEMs to offer this option to bus and coach customers.
“Many bus drivers would agree that the cab is not always the most hygienic of working environments,” explained Roger Brereton at Pailton Engineering. “The use of certain disinfecting wipes will cause the steering wheel material to degrade over time, so as a possible alternative, we are offering this prototype to gauge reaction, assess the potential and, if nothing else, raise awareness of a genuine problem.
“We’re yet to see a product like this on the market. It could significantly reduce sickness while allowing drivers to work without concern for what may be lurking on the steering wheel. We are open to hearing everyone’s views on the idea, so come along to the stand and have your say.”
Pailton Engineering will also address wider ergonomic issues for bus drivers, who are statistically more likely to experience musculoskeletal problems, especially in the back, neck and shoulders, than other professions. To help improve the overall working environment, the company has developed a fully adjustable, electric column that will allow for far greater variability of positions for the driver, improving comfort and greatly reducing the risk of injury.