Whole-body vibration exposure display

A simple device for displaying whole-body vibration

Tractor with transducer disc and display

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A transducer disc on the driver's seat measures the vibration arising, which can then be read off directly on the display.
Source: IFA

The operation of vehicles gives rise to vibration. Workers who drive vehicles at work are consequently exposed to whole-body vibration. The level of exposure may vary according to a number of factors, such as the driving style, the adjustment of the driver's seat, and the driver's body posture. It is very important for the workers to be able to place their own perception of the vibration in relation to an external assessment. This makes them conscious of the exposure and enables them to take measures to reduce it themselves, by adjusting their driving style and suitably adjusting the seat. Before now however, visualizing the vibration exposure was not easy. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) has therefore developed a user-friendly vibration exposure display. This device informs workers of their instantaneous vibration exposure by means of a traffic-light arrangement on the display, and is thus able to make an important contribution to reducing exposure.

Frontview of the displaying device

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The time characteristics of the vibration amplitudes (red lines) result in an assessment displayed on the traffic-light principle (red-amber-green), and can be observed in real time during driving.
Source: IFA

The device measures whole-body vibration in three axes by means of a transducer disc situated on the driver's seat. The weighted acceleration signals and the measured duration of vibration exposure are displayed directly during travel by a daily vibration exposure value represented by a colour coding. The display follows the traffic-light principle: should the exposure exceed the limit value, the column appears in red; if only the action value is exceeded, it appears in amber; below the action value, the column appears in green.

Importance was attached during design of the display to its suitability for use in daylight and the ease with which it can be mounted securely in the driver's cab. The display has a simple single-button control for all functions (switching on, starting measurement, ending measurement, switching off).

The device enables workers to feel, view and evaluate their own personal perception of vibration. The impact of a change in driving style or seat adjustment upon the vibration exposure can be seen immediately on the display. It can also be used for training and instruction purposes.

The whole-body vibration display is available from the IFA on loan free of charge to interested parties through their responsible accident insurance institutions.


Dr Christian Freitag

Ergonomics, Physical environmental factors

Tel: +49 30 13001-3430
Fax: +49 30 13001-38001