Whole-body vibration exposure in subway cars and review of adverse health effects

J Occup Med. 1991 May;33(5):605-12.


New York City Transit Authority subway operators have a high prevalence of back problems. To evaluate a possible dose-response relationship for whole-body vibration, we studied subway car vibrations measured and analyzed according to the International Standard Organization 2631 and Verein Deutscher Ingenieure 2057 standards. Vibration transducers in triaxial orientation were mounted in a disc pad directly on the subway operator's seat. The relatively high lateral and vertical accelerations, primarily the combined effects, may all contribute to the high rate of musculoskeletal complaints, especially of the lower back. Other factors aggravating whole-body vibrations include primitive ergonomic cab and seat design, forced body posture, high noise levels, and organizational work stress.

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain / etiology*
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Humans
  • New York City
  • Noise, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Posture
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Transportation*
  • Vibration / adverse effects*