Epidemiological study "Whole-body vibration

Project No. FFFF 0067


completed 12/1996


Development of a measuring system to record vibrational strength, draft of a "whole-body vibration principle" for occupational medical prevention of spinal damage caused by vibration. Goal: Quantitative description of the correlation between dosage and effect of exposure to vibration and changes in the lumbar vertebral column. Checking standard values for the damage to health caused by whole-body vibration (daily dosage KZR). Testing of a dosage procedure to assess vibrational strain throughout working life, basic findings for preventative occupational medicine and regulations.


Epidemiological cross sectional and longitudinal studies of people exposed to vibration (earth-moving-machinery drivers, forklift truck drivers, lorry drivers) and control group. First investigation of 388 persons exposed to vibration in 1990 to 1992, second investigation (281 persons) 1995 to 1996. Medical case history including x-ray analysis with main focus of attention on the lumbar vertebral column, evaluation of data on incapacity as a result of spinal complaints, investigation of vibrational strain throughout working life (measurement and BIA vibration data bank). The calculation of cumulative dosage value Dv: grouping according to dosage low/medium/high.


No indication through x-ray analysis of specific damage caused by vibration with KZR over 12.5 (daily dosage) consistent correlation between dosage and effect. The frequency of lumbar syndrome increases with strain, particularly when no complaints have been noted prior to exposure. With KZR > 12.5 and Dv > 580,000 a significant increase in lumbar vertebral column complaints when KZR = 16.2. In the h-group 35 % of lumbar spine syndrome cases can be attributed to exposure to vibration, in the m-group 33 %. Of the cases of lumbar spine syndrome occurring between the initial and the follow-up examination, 27 % in the h-group are caused by strain. The standard value KZR = 16.2 must be checked: In the evaluation of individual occupational vibrational strain dosage, vibrations with KZR > 12.5 must be entered. The causation of lumbar spine syndrome through exposure to vibration increases in probability with the increase in dosage.


Schwarze, S.; Notbohm, F.; Hartung, E.; Dupuis, H.: Auswirkungen von Ganzkörperschwingungen auf die Lendenwirbelsäule. ASU 33 10/1998, S. 429-442; w.v. Die BGT 11/1998, S. 690-695; Epidemiologische Studie Ganzkörpervibration. HVBG-Schriftenreihe 01/1999

Last Update:

9 Aug 1999


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeits- und Sozialmedizin der Universität Mainz
  • Berufsgenossenschaft für Fahrzeughaltungen
  • Tiefbau-Berufsgenossenschaft
  • Maschinenbau- und Metall-Berufsgenossenschaft
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:



Vibration, Grenzwert, Arbeitsmedizinische Vorsorge

Description, key words:

dose-related risk, lumbar vertebral syndrome, whole-body vibration, dose calculations, inclusion of daily vibration exposure rates (KZR) above 12.5 (former limit: 16.2)