Musculoskeletal Disorders and Whole-Body Vibration From Driving: Manage the Risk to Your Workforce
On 25 September 2023 HSE ran a free, hour-long
webinar on how to manage the risks of developing back pain and
injury when exposed to whole body vibration (WBV) whilst
If you missed it, you haven't missed out; the webinar was
recorded and can be watched again by registering here. Share this
link with colleagues and friends!
We are proud to offer a free webinar for fleet managers, health
and safety managers and employers on how to manage the risks of
developing back pain and injury when exposed to whole body
vibration (WBV) whilst driving.
This hour-long event will feature HSE experts, who will
highlight current guidance and explain the ergonomic principles
that help protect workers that drive.
The need for action
Have you ever exited a vehicle after a long drive with aching
back or neck? Have you ever found that driving aggravated back
problems caused by other activities?
Drivers and passengers of some mobile machines, including
certain boats, tractors, fork lift trucks and quarrying or
earth-moving machinery, may be exposed to whole-body vibration and
shocks, which are associated with back pain. Other work factors
known to contribute to back problems for drivers include:
- poor driver posture
- incorrect adjustment of the seat position and hand and foot
controls, so that it is necessary to continually lean and stretch
to operate the machine
- poor use of driving aids, such as mirrors, so that drivers must
twist and bend while driving
- sitting for long periods without being able to change
- repeated manual handling and lifting of loads by the
The risks increase where the driver or operator is exposed to
these factors at the same time as travelling in a vehicle that
subjects them to excessive exposure to whole-body vibration,
particularly shocks and jolts.
Industries where there may be a particular health risk from
driving include marine, agriculture, construction, forestry, mines
and quarries. Risks may also exist where industrial trucks are used
to transport materials, for example in factories, depots,
warehouses and docks, especially where the driving surfaces are in
poor condition, the drivers use poor driving techniques or the
vehicles are driven fast on uneven surfaces.
The BIRD tool collects information that will help determine
those issues that present the greatest risk of back injury and
discomfort to drivers and provide pointers to simple improvements
that may be made to reduce those risks. Other tools in the HSE MSD
suite, such as the MAC manual handling tool, can also be applied
alongside BIRD for a detailed analysis of any specific issues
- Matt Birtles, HSE's Principal Ergonomist welcomes you to what
promises to be an informative and lively webinar on the subjects of
musculoskeletal disorders and Whole Body Vibration (WBV). He will
describe how in 2021/22 work-related back pain was the leading
cause of working days lost. Matt will also share information on how
HSE is working with industry to prevent and manage the risks to
- Simon Turner, the Campaign Manager for the National Highways
Driving for Better Business Programme will demonstrate how the
national campaign is helping employers reduce work-related road
risk, control the associated costs and improve compliance. He will
also share the resources and online tools available as part of this
free-to-access, Government-backed change initiative.
- Paul Pitts, HSE's Principal Scientist in Noise and Vibration
will introduce the Back Injury Risks in Driving (BIRD) tool and
explain how it was created as a hazard identification resource that
can be used out in the field to support workers.
- Hollie Stocks from HSE's publishing partner, The Stationery
Office (TSO) will demonstrate the new, digitised version of the
tool and show us how it generates an informative auto-report that
can be used to identify hazards.
- Questions can be submitted throughout the webinar via the
secure online platform. The expert speakers will then hold a short
Q&A panel session at the end of the event. (You can not submit
questions when watching on-demand)
Watch on-demand here for
Please note that all courses must be paid for via credit
card at the time of booking.
Some of our training courses can also be delivered
in-company, please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Telephone: +44 (0)203 028 3704
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