Off Road Vehicle Vibration

Whole-Body Vibration is caused by land vehicles when shaking or jolting of the human body occurs through a supporting surface, usually a seat or the floor. This can occur when driving or riding on a vehicle along an unmade road; operating earthmoving machines or standing on a structure attached to a large, powerful, fixed machine which is impacting or vibrating.

The risk from vibration is related to the overall time the operator or driver is exposed to the vibration and the number of shocks and jolts they experience each day.

Regular operators and drivers of off-road machinery are likely to experience high vibration exposures. Especially operators of:

•    Construction, mining and quarrying machines and vehicles

•    Earth-moving machines such as scrapers, bulldozers and building site dumpers

•    Tractors, agricultural & forestry machinery - when used in transportation or primary cultivation

The risk for road transport drivers from vibration exposure is likely to be low unless the vehicles do not have effective suspension or are driven over poor surfaces or off-road. But there may be other causes of back pain for road transport drivers, which should probably be considered first, such as poor posture and travelling long distances in the same position.

High exposures could occur where vehicles designed for smooth surfaces are driven on poor surfaces, e.g. lift trucks with no suspension or with solid tyres used on cracked or uneven ground.

Poor operating or driving technique with most off-road machines or vehicles (e.g. driving too fast) can also lead to higher exposures which can be reduced by good driver training and instruction.

You can help avoid back pain if you do the following:

•    Check that the machine allocated to you is large enough and powerful enough for the job

•    Check that the machine has been correctly maintained and faults repaired

•    Check that the machine's tyre pressures are correct

•    Report any faults with the vehicle or other problems with the job

•    Adjust the seat so you are comfortable and it supports your lower back

•    Adjust the seat so you can see clearly without having to stretch, twist or lean

•    Make sure you can operate the controls without stretching, twisting or leaning

•    If your seat has a driver’s weight adjustment make sure it is adjusted correctly for your weight

•    Choose routes avoiding rough surfaces or drive more slowly to avoid bumping and jolting

•    Keep the ground on worksites where the machine is working or travelling in good condition

•    Steer, brake, accelerate, shift gears and operate any attachments smoothly

•    Avoid bad postures - constantly leaning forward or sideways or driving with your back twisted

•    Take regular breaks if you can, to avoid sitting in the same position for too long

•    Do not jump off the vehicle, or make other awkward movements that could jar your back

•    Avoid lifting and carrying awkward or heavy loads

•    Tell your employer about any back pain you have

•    Follow health and safety instructions and training

PDF Downloads

UK HSE - Control Of Risks From Whole Body Vibration

The approach to WBV is directed towards good practice controls.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

HSE - Control Back Pain Risks From Whole Body Vibration

Advice for employers on the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

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