We conduct research on how human health is affected by cold, ergonomics and vibrations in working life. A big part of our research has an Arctic context as its starting point, where the common characteristic of industrial environments is exposure to various physical, chemical and biological factors. Outdoor conditions such as large variation of temperature, icy and slippery conditions, moisture and poor lighting pose risks of both accidents and ill health.
We are a multidisciplinary and interprofessional research group. Our professions include occupational physicians, physiotherapists/ergonomists, occupational and environmental hygienists, statisticians and civil engineers. The group work with projects in a number of different industries such as construction, forestry and manufacturing industries and municipal activities.
The researchers are connected to a wide network of companies, employers' organizations, trade unions and authorities in the field. We have formed a research group to create a sustainable structure and stimulating work environment enabling us to conduct successful research in the field.
We do research on how cold affects health but also how we can actively work to prevent these problems with risk management strategies. We work closely with researchers in Tromsø, Norway and Oulu, Finland, where our research is based on the working conditions prevailing in the Arctic region. A lot is happening today linked to climate change, driving the green transition in society, which has clear consequences for tomorrow's working life. Part of this research is also the basis for Rebecca Tapper's PhD project. Hans Pettersson, member of the Vector group, is one of four Arctic Five Chairs at Umeå University.
We have a long tradition of research on exposure to vibrations in working life and how it can affect health. Almost half of all patients at the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic (AMM) in Umeå are investigated for occupational disease in their hands due to vibration exposure. Within VECTOR we are developing instruments that will increase diagnostic reliability when determining vibration-related injuries in the hands and fingers.
We also have a project where we investigate the risks of whole-body vibrations and sedentary behavior in logging truck drivers, and together with the companies will develop their systematic work environment management.
In the field of ergonomics, we run several epidemiological projects, primarily based on “Bygghälsokohorten”. After the pandemic, hybrid working methods have become common, i.e. when we switch between remote work and work in the office, but there is little knowledge about how this affects us. In a study of hybrid work among municipality employees, we will investigate how this affects the work environment, health and productivity. Physical and cardiovascular load in physically demanding occupations for older workers is investigated in the HIPE project.