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The association between whole body vibration exposure and musculoskeletal disorders in the Swedish work force is confounded by lifting and posture

Journal article
Authors Mats Hagberg
Lage Burström
Anna Ekman
Rebecka Vilhelmsson
Published in Journal of Sound and Vibration
Volume 298
Pages 492-498
ISSN 0022-460X
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Pages 492-498
Language en
Subject categories Environmental Health and Occupational Health


This was a cross-sectional study based on material representing the Swedish work-force from a survey conducted in 1999, 2001 and 2003 by Statistics Sweden. Exposure to whole body vibration (WBV) was prevalent among agricultural, forestry, fishery workers and among plant and machinery operators based on a sample of 40,000 employed persons. Approximately 70% responders, that are 9798 persons answered both the interview and the questionnaire for the analysis of exposure-response. Exposure to WBV at least half the working time was associated with prevalence ratios above two for musculoskeletal symptoms in the low back, neck, shoulder/arm and hand among workers. When the exposure factors lifting and frequent bending were added to a multivariate analysis, surprisingly the magnitude of association was low between low back symptoms and WBV exposure. Interestingly, the relation between WBV exposure and symptoms in the neck, shoulder/arm and hand had the same or higher magnitude of association even when the possible confounders were in the model. For the neck, low back and shoulder/arm there was a visible increase in prevalence ratio (as high as 5 times) when combined exposures of WBV, lifting, frequent bending, twisted posture and noise were included in the analysis. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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