Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention

Bern, Switzerland

Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention

Bern, Switzerland
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Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Liechti B.,ETH Zurich | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Stampfli R.,Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
British Journal of Sports Medicine | Year: 2010

Objective Back protectors for snowboarders were analysed with respect to their potential to prevent spinal injury. Design In 20 Swiss skiing resorts, athletes were interviewed on the slope. In addition, an online survey was conducted. The performance of 12 commercially available back protectors was investigated by means of mechanical testing. A currently used drop test according to standard EN1621 (motorcycle protectors), testing energy damping was supplemented by penetration tests according to standard EN1077, which refl ects snowsport safety concerns. Results 6 out of 12 back protectors fulfi lled the higher safety level defi ned in EN1621. Protectors making use of energy-absorbing layers performed particularly well. In contrast, hard shell protectors exhibited a higher potential to withstand the penetration test. The surveys confi rmed that approximately 40-50% of snowboarders use a back protector. A large majority of users expect protection from severe spinal injury such as vertebral fractures or spinal cord injury. Conclusions The currently used test standards are fulfi lled by many back protectors. Users, however, expect protectors to be effi cient in impact scenarios that result in spinal injury, which are more severe than impacts as addressed in the current standards. This study highlights that there is a mismatch between the capabilities of current back protectors to prevent spinal injury in snowboarding and the expectations users have of these protectors.


Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Liechti B.,ETH Zurich | Stampfli R.,Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology | Bruhwiler P.,Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
Procedia Engineering | Year: 2010

Approximately 13% skiers and 38% snowboarders wore wearing a back protector during the last season in Switzerland. This huge number suggests an ensured functionality of such back protectors. However, there is no specific standard regarding snow sports available. Therefore, the main goal of the study was to get an initial overview about the functionality in terms of potential protective effects of back protectors. The whole project was divided into an athlete survey and an experimental performance test (drop test). The results from the surveys clearly pointed out, that back protectors belong to the most important pieces of protection equipment in snow sports. The related customer expectations emphasize the importance in terms of injury prevention particularly regarding severe spinal column injuries. Concerning the performance test according to the standard for motorcyclists' back protectors EN 1621-2 most of the samples did pass protection level 1. However, considering the test procedure there appears to be a mismatch between customer expectations, injury occurrence and the actual preventive potential of currently available protectors.


Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Staudigl F.,TÜV SÜD
2011 IRCOBI Conference Proceedings - International Research Council on the Biomechanics of Injury | Year: 2011

Wrist injuries are frequently sustained in snowboarding. To prevent such injuries wrist guards are on the market. However, in contrast to other sports protectors, there is no performance standard available that prescribes any requirements for snowboarding wrist guards. This study investigates whether the standard used for safety gear in roller sports (EN 14120:2007) can also be applied to products for snowboarding. A representative sample of different designs for snowboarding wrist protectors was tested in a similar manner as defined in EN 14120. Damping characteristics of the products were investigated by drop tests, and bending tests were performed analysing the properties with respect to wrist extension. Generally the standard seems to be applicable to snowboarding products. However, some adjustments of the test conditions and the performance requirements seem necessary to account for the application in snow sports. Nonetheless, the introduction of a modified standard appears to be a reasonable undertaking to improve the protective potential of wrist guards.


Michel F.I.,bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Greenwald R.M.,Simbex, Llc | Russell K.,University of Manitoba | And 3 more authors.
Sports Engineering | Year: 2013

The wrist is the most frequently injured body region among snowboarders. Studies have shown that the risk of sustaining a wrist injury can be reduced by wearing wrist protection. Currently, there are a wide variety of wrist protection products for snowboarding on the market that offer a range of protective features. However, there are no minimum performance standards for snowboarding wrist protectors worldwide. The International Society for Skiing Safety convened a task force to develop a White Paper to evaluate the importance and necessity of a minimum performance for all wrist protectors used in snowboarding. The White Paper outlines the need for a general framework for a harmonized international standard and reviews the existing evidence. Therefore, this White Paper may serve as a common base for future discussions. The broader goal of developing and implementing such a standard is to reduce the incidence and the severity of wrist injuries in snowboarding without increasing the risk of adverse events, such as upper arm or shoulder injury. The European standard for inline skating wrist protectors (EN 14120) can serve as a starting point for efforts related to a standard for snowboard wrist protectors, but certain modifications to the standard would be required. It is hypothesized that implementation of a snowboarding wrist protector standard would result in fewer and less severe wrist injuries in the sport and could translate into more riding days for healthy snowboarders and significant health-care costs savings. © 2013 The Author(s).


Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Staudigl F.,TÜV SÜD
ASTM Special Technical Publication | Year: 2012

Although wrist guards are available to prevent the wrist injuries that are frequently sustained in snowboarding, there is no mandated performance standard for these wrist guards as there is for other sports protection equipment. This study investigates whether the standard specified for safety gear in roller sports (EN 14120) can also be applied to snowboarding equipment. Representatives of the different designs of snowboarding wrist protectors available were tested in a manner similar to that defined in EN 14120. The damping characteristics of the products were investigated in drop tests, and wrist extension properties were studied using bending tests. In general the test results indicate that the roller sports standard is also applicable to snowboarding products; however, adjustments to the test conditions and the performance requirements need to be discussed. This relates, first of all, to the damping test conditions, because most products failed the performance criteria. In addition, a higher upper threshold value in the bending test (currently 55°) seems to be more related to falls observed in snowboarding. Furthermore, the influence of test conditions such as the temperature needs to be checked. Nevertheless, the introduction of a modified standard should be a reasonable undertaking to improve the protective potential of wrist guards. Copyright © 2012 by ASTM International.


Lehner S.,TU Munich | Geyer T.,TU Munich | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Senner V.,TU Munich
Procedia Engineering | Year: 2014

Snowboarding is one of the most popular winter sports, particularly among adolescents and younger adults. The risk of injuries while snowboarding is higher compared with alpine skiing, with the wrist as the dominant injury region. In contrast to increasing numbers regarding helmet usage, acceptance for wearing wrist protectors is decreasing. To date the market offers a variety of wrist protection products for snowboarding which feature different protective elements. However, there are no minimum performance standards for snowboarding wrist protectors worldwide. Currently a harmonized international standard is under preparation to provide guidelines for minimum safety performance for all wrist protectors used in snowboarding. In the course of this aim, a multi body system (MBS) was developed to acquire further knowledge about the functional requirements of wrist protectors. To evaluate a worst case scenario different falling scenarios of snowboarders were simulated to calculate the resulting loads in the upper extremity. The simulations were carried out using the multi body dynamics software package SIMPACK 9.0 (SIMPACK AG, Wessling, Germany). The comprehensive model contains a human model, a model of a ski slope and a model of a snowboard. The parameterized models adapt to the body height, the body weight and the shoe size of the snowboarder. In this study a model of a 50 percentile adult (1.80 m, 78.4 kg) was used. To evaluate a worst case scenario well-known falling situations of snowboarders were simulated. The backward fall on outstretched joints of the upper extremity can be evaluated as worst case scenario. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Bianchi G.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Brugger O.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Niemann S.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Cavegn M.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention
Journal of ASTM International | Year: 2011

The aim of this study is to examine the correlation between helmet use and on-slope ski conduct. During the months of February and March 2009, eight trained interviewers asked 1550 skiers and snowboarders at 20 ski resorts in the German and French speaking parts of Switzerland a series of questions. The skiers and snowboarders were asked about their reasons for wearing or not wearing a helmet and about their behavior and conduct on the slopes. Three categories of people were identified: (1) Helmet wearers, (2) those who do not wear a helmet but intend to buy one, and (3) those who do not wear a helmet and have no intention of buying one. After assessing the outcome of the survey by performing a variance analysis, significant differences were found between the self-reported on-slope conduct of the helmet wearers and those who choose not to wear a helmet. No difference in self-rated ski conduct was found between the two categories of people not wearing a helmet. A stepwise multivariate logistic regression was used to compare the different control factors on self-reported risk behavior. To summarize, by becoming a helmet wearer, skiers and snowboarders tend to demonstrate a greater degree of willingness to take risks on the slopes. For this reason, the theory of risk compensation cannot be entirely ruled out. More importantly, however, independent variables such as age, gender, number of falls per day, or years of experience were found to make a far greater contribution toward helping us understand a person's willingness to take risks while skiing or snowboarding. Copyright © 2011 by ASTM International.


Blanchi G.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Brugger O.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention
ASTM Special Technical Publication | Year: 2012

This study analyzed the attitudes of snowboarders regarding the use of wrist guards with the goal of determining the best way to persuade snowboarders to wear wrist protection. A questionnaire was completed orally by 3791 snowboarders over six winter seasons between 2002-2003 and 2009-2010 at 20 ski resorts in Switzerland. The use of wrist guards was highest, at about 40%, from seasons 2002-2003 to 2007-2008, and usage decreased to 27% in 2009-2010. Snowboarders who did not wear wrist guards were more likely to be 18 years old or older, to have a beginner or expert skill level, to be a resident of a country other than Switzerland, to snowboard in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and to not wear a helmet while snowboarding. The main reason for wearing wrist guards was safety (68%). The three most common reasons for not wearing wrist guards were a lack of safety consciousness (35%), dissatisfaction with the design (25%), and the perception that the wrist guards did not provide sufficient protection (19%). Moreover, 78% of snowboarders who did not wear wrist guards and 26% of those who did wear them agreed with the statement that wrist guards are uncomfortable. In addition, 59% and 37%, respectively, believed that there is a high risk of forearm injury during an accident when a wrist guard is worn. Based on these findings, both the functionality and the comfort of wrist guards should be improved. Toward this end, safety requirements and related performance criteria need to be identified, defined, and implemented. Commercially available wrist guards should be required to meet acquired safety standards. Finally, snowboarders' awareness of wrist injuries needs to be increased, and the effectiveness of wrist protectors should be communicated more effectively. Copyright © 2012 by ASTM International.


Bianchi G.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Brugger O.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Sportmedizin und Sporttraumatologie | Year: 2015

Skiing and snowboarding are very popular sports in Switzerland. However, every year, around 67,000 skiers and 18,000 snowboarders are injured so seriously that they need medical treatment. Moreover around 8 people die on the slopes in Switzerland. Therefore, there is a need to reduce the burden of injuries in snow sports. The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (bfu) developed a strategy that utilized scientifically-based injury prevention, using an effect-oriented prevention cycle. The aim of this study is to present this systematic and evidence-based strategy for snow sports. Throughout the prevention cycle, the incidence and severity of injuries are established, risk factors and possible prevention measures are identified and rated, prevention goals are set, prevention programs are developed and implemented, and the success of the measures and processes are monitored. In addition, the effect-oriented prevention cycle involves collaboration with other prevention-minded partners. This strategy allows the bfu to carry out its legal mandate to prevent non-occupational accidents and to coordinate prevention measures throughout Switzerland that are effective, efficient, and practical. Furthermore, the collaboration with other prevention-minded agencies greatly improves the implementation.


Siegrist S.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention
Safety Science | Year: 2010

During the last three decades a more rational approach to political decision making has produced an increasing demand for scientific evaluation. A common understanding of evidence-based policy is that any new measures should have been proven to be effective. At best, these kinds of methodologically sound evaluation studies show the effect of a measure in a given situation. The results are then an essential basis for the design of a broader safety policy. However, at present there is generally little understanding of the effect of the measure in another situation, or of how it would interact with other measures in a programme. Yet, it is precisely such questions that need to be answered if the requirements of policy makers are to be met. Politicians need to be able to estimate whether the expected benefits of a programme justify the investment. Therefore, evidence-based road safety policy should not rely solely on evaluation studies of single measures and ex-post assessments of safety programmes. The method outlined here is for the ex-ante estimation of the potential of a road safety programme, which takes into account existing scientific research, an estimate of the degree of implementation that can be expected at a certain point in time, and the interaction between individual measures. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

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