When it comes to The Working Athlete™, vibration is part of the job.  Whether you are a long-haul truck driver, working a jack hammer or on the line of a conveyor belt, your day will include vibration. When was the last time you considered the power of vibration on your body in the work place?

While you consider the relationship associated with vibration and musculoskeletal discomfort, you must first determine the difference between Whole Body Vibration (WBV) or Segmental Vibration (SV).

Whole Body Vibration (WBV)
WBV is transmitted through the seat or feet of employees.  These “Working Athletes™” are the professional drivers behind the wheel of semi-trucks, heavy construction equipment and forklift operators, while driving their equipment over uneven terrain or for long periods of time, their body remains in a whole-body vibration for extended periods of time. While sitting the vibrations can transfer from the equipment to the body which creates both voluntary and involuntary contractions of muscles, causing local muscle fatigue and numb sensations, particularly when the vibration is at the resonant-frequency.  The level that causes a shaking, quacking, or movement to the frequency of the vibration.

Poor posture with high degrees of vibration may cause greater risk of injury and disorder

Research has shown that musculoskeletal injuries of the hip, buttock, neck, high and low back pain are associated with operators of on-road and off-road vehicles.

Segmental Vibration (SV)
SV refers to specific body parts or sections of the body such as the hands, arms and feet.  By handling mechanical equipment such as jack hammers, this repetitive vibration can create an oscillatory sensation and fatiguing responsiveness of the muscles due to reduced blood flow.  Trades that use tools such as chainsaws, drills, or manufacturing machinery that vibrates for long periods of time without proper breaks can result in insensitivity to touch, white finger disease, or a secondary form of Raynaud’s Syndrome.

While working our bodies can be more sensitive to different frequencies of vibration.  The duration and exposure to vibration can affect each individual different.  This is due to muscle response, duration and intensity of the vibration.

What can you do about it?
Overall, reducing exposure to vibration is key for musculoskeletal injury prevention.
– Reduce the duration or time of exposure, take frequent breaks or use job rotation.
– Before starting the next task, take time to stretch and allow an increase in blood flow to affected body parts.
– Use InSite Health’s dynamic warm up protocol in the PRO System series.

Whole Body Vibration (WBV)
Try to reduce vibration by
– Installing vibration-dampening mechanism such as air suspended/adjustable seats and tires with low-vibration tread patterns
– Balance vehicle wheels and maintain shock absorbers
– Posture is key while driving, maintain the curves of the spine as a natural shock absorber.

Segmental Vibration (SV)
Try to reduce segmental vibration by:
– Using vibration-dampening tools either by design or with the use of handle wraps
– Use tool balancers or lighter weight tools so you can provide the lightest grip possible
– Use anti-vibration gloves

Use tools with optimal ergonomic design allowing an optimal grip and handle design in line with orientation of task.

For more information on how InSite Health can keep your “Working Athlete™” in the game and performing at their highest level, contact us today!