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Open Access Research article

The impact of self-reported exposure to whole-body-vibrations on the risk of disability pension among men: a 15 year prospective study

Finn Tüchsen1*, Helene Feveile1, Karl B Christensen2 and Niklas Krause3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and surveillance, The National Research Centre for Working Environment, Lersø Parkallé 105, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

2 Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Public Health, Øster Farimagsgade 5, DK-1014 Copenhagen K, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

3 Department of medicine, University of California at San Francisco, 1301 South 46th St. Building 163, Richmond, CA 94804, USA

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:305  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-305

Published: 3 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Whole-body-vibrations are often associated with adverse health effect but the long term effects are less known. This study investigates the association between occupational exposures to whole-body vibrations, and subsequent transition to disability pension.

Methods

A total of 4215 male employees were followed up for subsequent disability pension retirement. Exposure to whole-body-vibration was self-reported while new cases of disability pension were retrieved from a national register.

Results

The hazard ratio (HR) for disability pension retirement among men exposed to whole-body-vibrations was 1.61 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07-2.40) after adjustment for age, smoking habits, BMI, physical job demands and awkward work postures. In our model, with the available explanatory variables, 5.6% of the male disability pension cases were attributable to whole-body-vibrations.

Conclusions

Exposure to whole-body-vibrations predicts subsequent disability pension retirement. Continued reduction of whole-body-vibrations may reduce the number of new cases of disability pension.