Whole Body Vibration

Operators, drivers and passengers of machines and vehicles in workplaces can be exposed to harmful levels of whole body vibration. With the Curotec Vibration Management System you can help reduce the risk of exposure to your employees reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

What is Whole-Body Vibration?

Whole-body vibration (WBV) is shaking or jolting of the human body through a supporting surface (i.e. via a sear or floor). It is commonly experienced by drivers, operators and passengers in vehicles and machines when travelling over uneven surfaces.

The transmission of vibration to the body is dependent on body posture. The effects of vibration are complex. Exposure to WBV causes motions and forces within the human body that may adversely affect performance, aggravate pre-existing conditions and cause discomfort.

What are the sources of WBV?

Drivers of mobile machines are most at risk of harmful WBV exposure levels. Agricultural Vehicles, Forklift Trucks, Quarrying or Earthmoving Machinery, Ride-On Dumper Trucks, Ride-On Rollers, Tug Boats and Rig Boats are just a few examples.

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There are certain factors that can increase or decrease the risk of WBV exposure to employees:

  • Road Construction / Maintenance
  • Vehicle Type / Design
  • Age / Condition of the Vehicle
  • Maintenance of Vehicles Suspension Systems
  • Seat design, Suspension and Maintenance
  • Cab Layout, Design and Orientation
  • Task Design and Work Organisation.
  • Vehicle Speed, Driver Skills and Awareness

What are the health effects of Whole-Body Vibration?

The longer a worker is exposed to WBV, the greater the risk of physical damage to employees operating vibrating machinery. Long-term exposure to WBV risks damage to the Lumbar spine, the neck and shoulders. Results of epidemiological studies also show a higher prevalence rate of low-back pain, herniated disc and early degeneration of the spine in excessive WBV- exposed workers.

Exposure to WBV can also cause or aggravate other health conditions such as:

  • Spinal Deformation and Chronic Back Pain
  • Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Metabolic Changes
  • Digestive Problems
  • Erectile Dysfunction and Reproductive Organ Damage
  • Impairment of Vision and Balance

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How do I reduce the risk of Harmful Whole-Body Vibration exposure to my Employees? 

The Curotec Vibration Management System is not a complete vibration solution and should be used as part of a comprehensive WBV Management programme.

HSE have said that digital vibration monitoring systems “can be a useful tool for carrying out a risk assessment or for monitoring the preventive measures in place to ensure that they are effective.”

Using the Curo can help to identify workers exposed to potentially damaging vibration levels and whether or not controls have been effective or not.

Before using the Curo there are certain control measures that should be considered. Successful WBV exposure reduction usually requires a combination of control measures. These measures are:

curo

  • Modify the process to eliminate the task or the risk.
  • Redesigning the task or the equipment to reduce vibration exposure
  • Buying machines or vehicles that are designed to reduce the vibration transmitted to the operator
  • Improving and Maintaining Road Surfaces
  • Implementing a seat maintenance program to ensure vibration dampened seats are maintained in good condition
  • Implementing speed limits
  • Implementing regular work breaks, posture changes or job rotation to reduce exposure time.
  • Providing training, information and supervision on adjusting and operating equipment, including seats to reduce exposure.
  • Implementing safe work procedures and standard operating procedure

 

For further information about managing vibration exposure within your company please contact Curotec Team Ltd on 01488 662 790 or email sales@curotec.eu


Curotec Team Ltd are vibration management specialists, with a team of trained Health and Safety Consultants, Technical Installation Managers and Support Advisors aiding business’s to comply with the ‘Control of vibration at work regulations (2005)’.