OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine exposure to whole-body vibration (WBV) and mechanical shock in rural workers who use quad bikes and to explore how personal, physical, and workplace characteristics influence exposure.
METHODS: A seat pad mounted triaxial accelerometer and data logger recorded full workday vibration and shock data from 130 New Zealand rural workers. Personal, physical, and workplace characteristics were gathered using a modified version of the Whole Body Vibration Health Surveillance Questionnaire. WBVs and mechanical shocks were analysed in accordance with the International Standardization for Organization (ISO 2631-1 and ISO 2631-5) standards and are presented as vibration dose value (VDV) and mechanical shock (S(ed)) exposures.
RESULTS: VDV(Z) consistently exceeded European Union (Guide to good practice on whole body vibration. Directive 2002/44/EC on minimum health and safety, European Commission Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. 2006) guideline exposure action thresholds with some workers exceeding exposure limit thresholds. Exposure to mechanical shock was also evident. Increasing age had the strongest (negative) association with vibration and shock exposure with body mass index (BMI) having a similar but weaker effect. Age, daily driving duration, dairy farming, and use of two rear shock absorbers created the strongest multivariate model explaining 33% of variance in VDV(Z). Only age and dairy farming combined to explain 17% of the variance for daily mechanical shock. Twelve-month prevalence for low back pain was highest at 57.7% and lowest for upper back pain (13.8%).
CONCLUSIONS: Personal (age and BMI), physical (shock absorbers and velocity), and workplace characteristics (driving duration and dairy farming) suggest that a mix of engineered workplace and behavioural interventions is required to reduce this level of exposure to vibration and shock.
2011. Vol. 55, no 3, 286-295 p.