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Musculoskeletal Disorders and Whole-Body Vibration From Driving: Manage the Risk to Your Workforce

MSD BIRD jpgOn 25 September 2023 HSE ran a free, hour-long webinar on how to manage the risks of developing back pain and injury when exposed to whole body vibration (WBV) whilst driving.

If you missed it, you haven't missed out; the webinar was recorded and can be watched again by registering here. Share this link with colleagues and friends!


We are proud to offer a free webinar for fleet managers, health and safety managers and employers on how to manage the risks of developing back pain and injury when exposed to whole body vibration (WBV) whilst driving.

This hour-long event will feature HSE experts, who will highlight current guidance and explain the ergonomic principles that help protect workers that drive.

The need for action

Have you ever exited a vehicle after a long drive with aching back or neck? Have you ever found that driving aggravated back problems caused by other activities?

Drivers and passengers of some mobile machines, including certain boats, tractors, fork lift trucks and quarrying or earth-moving machinery, may be exposed to whole-body vibration and shocks, which are associated with back pain. Other work factors known to contribute to back problems for drivers include:

  • poor driver posture
  • incorrect adjustment of the seat position and hand and foot controls, so that it is necessary to continually lean and stretch to operate the machine
  • poor use of driving aids, such as mirrors, so that drivers must twist and bend while driving
  • sitting for long periods without being able to change position
  • repeated manual handling and lifting of loads by the driver

The risks increase where the driver or operator is exposed to these factors at the same time as travelling in a vehicle that subjects them to excessive exposure to whole-body vibration, particularly shocks and jolts.

Industries where there may be a particular health risk from driving include marine, agriculture, construction, forestry, mines and quarries. Risks may also exist where industrial trucks are used to transport materials, for example in factories, depots, warehouses and docks, especially where the driving surfaces are in poor condition, the drivers use poor driving techniques or the vehicles are driven fast on uneven surfaces.

The BIRD tool collects information that will help determine those issues that present the greatest risk of back injury and discomfort to drivers and provide pointers to simple improvements that may be made to reduce those risks. Other tools in the HSE MSD suite, such as the MAC manual handling tool, can also be applied alongside BIRD for a detailed analysis of any specific issues identified.


  • Matt Birtles, HSE's Principal Ergonomist welcomes you to what promises to be an informative and lively webinar on the subjects of musculoskeletal disorders and Whole Body Vibration (WBV). He will describe how in 2021/22 work-related back pain was the leading cause of working days lost. Matt will also share information on how HSE is working with industry to prevent and manage the risks to workers.
  • Simon Turner, the Campaign Manager for the National Highways Driving for Better Business Programme will demonstrate how the national campaign is helping employers reduce work-related road risk, control the associated costs and improve compliance. He will also share the resources and online tools available as part of this free-to-access, Government-backed change initiative.
  • Paul Pitts, HSE's Principal Scientist in Noise and Vibration will introduce the Back Injury Risks in Driving (BIRD) tool and explain how it was created as a hazard identification resource that can be used out in the field to support workers.
  • Hollie Stocks from HSE's publishing partner, The Stationery Office (TSO) will demonstrate the new, digitised version of the tool and show us how it generates an informative auto-report that can be used to identify hazards.
  • Questions can be submitted throughout the webinar via the secure online platform. The expert speakers will then hold a short Q&A panel session at the end of the event. (You can not submit questions when watching on-demand)


Watch on-demand here for free







Some of our training courses can also be delivered in-company, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Telephone: +44 (0)203 028 3704

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