A survey of expert opinion on the effects of occupational exposures to trunk rotation and whole-body vibration

2014-04-16T15:01:09Z (GMT) by Lauren J. Morgan Neil Mansfield
We present a review of current expert opinion on the effects of combined exposures to trunk rotation and whole-body vibration (WBV), commonly experienced by operators of agricultural machinery. We evaluate the level of agreement between academic experts in the field of ergonomics, human response to WBV and agricultural operators, on the effects of exposure to WBV and trunk rotation. A total of 83 individuals responded to the paper-based questionnaire, which included questions on risk levels from individual and combined exposures, discomfort development, exposure duration limits and tasks within agriculture. The results showed that all groups considered exposure to WBV and trunk rotation as risk factors for the development of back pain. The experts were not in consensus regarding acceptable exposure durations, areas of discomfort experienced or recommendations for cab developments. Practitioner Summary: Trunk rotation combined with WBV is the suggested cause for low back pain in exposed populations. Expert opinion on possible interactions is explored through risk assessment and practice recommendations. Designers should consider the operators' feedback on the machines they use, as this may include valuable insight on future developments.