If you drive a forklift or work with heavy machinery, there is a good chance you have experienced whole body vibrations. As their name indicates, whole body vibrations cause your entire body to shake throughout your workday.

Not only are whole body vibrations irritating, but they may also lead to serious injuries. While you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for these injuries, you may be better off trying to manage the risk.

Multiple causes of whole body vibrations

Forklifts and other pieces of warehouse equipment have motors that generate vibrations. These vibrations can easily move through the driver’s seat and into the driver’s body. Engine vibrations are not your only concern, however.

The following may also cause whole body vibrations:

  • Machinery resistance forces
  • Uneven, rough or mixed driving surfaces
  • Vehicle operational maneuvers

Common health risks

Workers who must put up with whole body vibrations often report discomfort in their lower backs. If high vibration levels continue, however, you may develop serious health complications.

For example, whole body vibrations may cause the discs in your spinal column to deteriorate or bulge. Muscular weakness and loss of muscular control are common with herniated discs.

Some coping strategies

If you have sustained an injury due to whole body vibrations, you should notify your employer immediately. Then, you should seek medical treatment and start the recovery process. Alternatively, you may be able to implement some coping strategies to help you avoid work-related vibration injuries.

Taking regular breaks or working in shifts may help. If your machinery or work environment are the problem, you may also be able to convince your employer to mitigate the many health risks that often accompany whole body vibrations.