Occupational health project "Combination of whole body vibration and posture"

Project No. FF-FP 0306


completed 09/2014


Awkward posture, manual materials handling and whole-body vibration exposures are the most important physical factors of low-back pain among professional drivers. Due to the complexity of field measurement of postures, no epidemiological analysis has so far investigated the combination of these exposures by means of quantitative data. Advancement in sensor technology has made it possible to introduce a measuring technique that investigates postures by body angles quantitatively.


This pilot study investigated the adverse health effects of combined exposure to whole-body vibration and awkward postures with the aid of simultaneous field measurements. In addition to these measurements, investigations based on questionnaires and physical examinations among 102 exposed drivers have been executed. Additional exposures such as psychosocial factors and manual materials handling have been investigated by means of questionnaires.


The daily vibration value A(8) and an index for awkward posture (counting body angles in the nonneutral range of movement) were the best measures for describing associations between these exposures and low-back pain in this project. Individual characteristics and psychosocial factors did not show a significant effect. Finally, whole-body vibration and awkward posture as separate variables in a single model as well as the combination of both exposures in a single index showed significant negative health effects in terms of low-back pain.

Last Update:



Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)
  • RWTH Aachen

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

noise/vibrations, mechanical hazards


musculoskeletal disorders (except cancer), ergonomics, prevention

Description, key words:

whole body vibration (WBV), posture