Whole Body Vibration Exposures and Health Status among Professional Truck Drivers: A Cross-sectional Analysis.

Many professional truck drivers suffer from low back pain (LBP) which is thought to be associated with exposure to whole-body vibration (WBV). The objectives of this study were to: (i) characterize general health, regional body pain and WBV exposures, (ii) evaluate the associations between different WBV parameters and health outcomes, and (iii) determine whether there were factors which affect a truck driver’s WBV exposures. This study analyzed WBV exposures from 96 long-haul truck drivers over their regular work shift (6-15h) per International Standards Organization (ISO) 2631-1 and 2631-5 WBV standards. This study also evaluated regional body pain (10-point scale), low back disability (the Oswestry Disability Index), and physical and mental health (the Short Form 12-item Health Survey). The results demonstrated that the daily vector sum WBV exposures [A(8), VDV(8) and Sed(8)] were above action limits while the predominant z-axis exposures were below action limits.

Among all the musculoskeletal outcomes, LBP was the most prevalent (72.5%) with average LBP score of 2.9 (SD: 2.0). The SF-12 health scores demonstrated that truck drivers in general had lower physical health status than the general US population (P’s < 0.04) and that physical health status decreased as WBV exposures increased (P = 0.03). In addition, the correlations between the WBV measures and health outcomes indicated that A(8) exposure measures had a stronger link to musculoskeletal (LBP) and other health outcomes than the VDV(8) and Sed(8) measures. Finally, seat manufacturer and seat age were two factors which had a strong influence on WBV exposures.

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