Whole Body Vibration (WBV)

Last Updated: May 22, 2018

Definition - What does Whole Body Vibration (WBV) mean?

Whole body vibration (WBV) is a defined as the exposure of a person's entire body to vibration. Vibrations move an object or person back and forth in small quick motions. In the workplace setting, this motion is usually triggered by a riding in a vehicle, operating heavy machinery, or handling a power tool. While the risks of WBV are not fully understood, exposure to WVB has been associated with injury or harm to the circulatory, digestive, musculoskeletal, and neurological systems.

WorkplaceTesting explains Whole Body Vibration (WBV)

Exposure to whole body vibration may occur through the feet or buttocks when standing or sitting in a moving vehicle. Leaning against working machinery or bracing a piece of power equipment against the body may also expose a person WBV. Exposure to whole body vibration can be reduced with the use of proper equipment and work practices. Vehicles with high vibration levels can be equipped with air-ride seats and other vibration controls. Making sure that vehicle tires are properly inflated can also reduce WBV. When using power tools or heavy machinery, workers should be encouraged grip tools properly and not brace tools or machinery against their bodies. Employees should also take vibration-free recovery breaks throughout the day.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published standards for the measurement of whole body vibration in the workplace. An employer can use an accelerometer to determine the level of WBV an employee will be exposed to when using selected machinery. These measures can then be evaluated using International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements to determine the level of risk associated with an employee's use of the machinery or tool.

This definition was written in the context of Ergonomics
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