Discussion:
Forklift Use and Lower Back Pain

This is my first post on this forum so I'll give a little background and then ask my question.

I've been in the freight industry for about 7 years as everything from a truck driver, dock worker to supervisor. I'm currently an ops supervisor tasked with a lot more than I've ever been trained for but I'm able to get the job done.

Now the question. Has anyone found a correlation between low back pain and forklift use? I'm doing some research for myself as I suffer from chronic back pain and have found that if I spend any extended time on a forklift, my pain is exacerbated. I've had back pain for years even before forklift use so I know it's not the root cause but it's greatly increased after a shift of loading/unloading trucks.

Our environment is 95% indoor on flat, level concrete. We load trucks over a manually operated dock plate and none of them have a smooth transition from dock to trailer. I know slowing down upon entry/exit will reduce the jarring effects......that's a no-brainer.

However, I'm finding online words such as "dock shock" and "WBV" (whole body vibration) as potential causes of lower back pain. Is there any meat to these causes?

I'm not looking to change the forklift world nor am I looking for information to create a class-action lawsuit against anyone. I'm looking for ways to prevent/reduce lower back fatigue for the guys on my dock and maybe find some relief for myself in the process.

Thanks in advance for any input.

DockPlate
  • Posted 25 May 2010 01:43
  • Discussion started by DockPlate
  • Texas, United States
Showing items 1 - 14 of 14 results.
Often back pain occurs in the workplace. Prolonged sitting in the wrong position can lead to chronic muscle fatigue and subsequent pain. Back pain also often provokes work associated with frequent bending and lifting of weight. Don't think that plank may hurt, but just in case here is one of many tiger balm uses that can help https://www.tigerbalm-baumetigre.com/blog/46-uses-tigerbalm/
Great post....
  • Posted 7 Sep 2017 16:49
  • Reply by backtolife_c
  • New South Wales, Australia
@sandness
I'll soon be 72 & I have lower back pain now. Never had a back problem until this year. Guess I'm just getting old or it has something to do with recently cutting down a 40 ft. tall x 25 feet wide Bradford pear tree limb by limb that split & fell across my drive way. BTW they have a a whole lot of limbs

And our some what expensive Lazy Boy chair w/ vibration, lumbar adjustment, heated doesn't give me any relief. Dang! The bottom cushion is definitely contoured to my buttock during football season.

My Doctor said I will survive but stay off ladders indefinitely and away from chain saws for a while.

Oh this rant has nothing to do with F/L either but I was around them for 41 years.
  • Posted 15 Jul 2016 20:09
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
I have a 2012 Kia Soul that I purchased last June 2012. Soon after, I started having back pain which I've never experienced before. This pain only occurred after long drives or extreme traffic in my city.I called Kia of North America and they told me I was the first person who has ever has this problem with this car in the whole country.Then i contact to Las Vagus Back Pain Doctor and they relieve me from pain.
  • Posted 4 Jul 2016 20:24
  • Reply by sandness_p
  • Florida, United States
Unfortunately, all of our lifts are sit-down lifts. We only have 4 on our dock but they are antiques. I think one of them is still hand-crank start (kidding).

Getting service on our lifts entails sending them to one of our other terminals for repairs which means even the simplest repair (such as R&R of a tilt cylinder) takes a week. All but one of our lifts have over 15,000 hours on them (including a Yale dinosaur) so they're constantly needing bits and pieces fixed.

One of them, the seat had torn on the left side so the guy who uses it most bought some twin and stitched it back together. It's now known as "Frankenseat".

It's not an ideal situation but one we have to deal with. In the past, when it comes time to rotate out forklifts, we send up junk and get worse junk in return. It's gotten to where I've even done basic tune-ups on the lifts with parts from our regional repair depot just so I'm not without a forklift for a week.

Ok, done rambling and whining. I'm sure there are others out there with bigger issues and this was actually started to research back pain. Back on topic, DockPlate!
  • Posted 27 May 2010 13:31
  • Reply by DockPlate
  • Texas, United States
See the Crown RC5500 with FlexRide. This is a stand up dock truck with a weight adjustable, spring suspended floor board.
  • Posted 27 May 2010 13:22
  • Reply by cook
  • Ohio, United States
All great information!

Thanks, I knew I'd come to the right place.

DockPlate
  • Posted 26 May 2010 04:10
  • Reply by DockPlate
  • Texas, United States
DockPlate -

The following Australian presentation (Forklifts - "the hidden dangers") should be of interest (33 pdf pages.)

Google: safework.sa.gov.au/uploaded_files/2006_W70.pdf
  • Posted 26 May 2010 03:51
  • Reply by joseph_h
  • Michigan, United States
There is a Canadian study online, about forklift ergonomics and back pain.
  • Posted 26 May 2010 01:24
  • Reply by TradeShowDave
  • California, United States
That would be the information I'm looking for.

Thanks tons.

DockPlate
  • Posted 25 May 2010 20:53
  • Reply by DockPlate
  • Texas, United States
DockPlate:

Google: Effect of forklift operation on lower back pain: An evidence-based approach

Google: Lower back pain and forklift operators

Google: Forklift ergonomics

You will find several links that will apply to your research.
  • Posted 25 May 2010 20:42
  • Reply by joseph_h
  • Michigan, United States
Sadly, I know our issues aren't seatbelt related. I could go on but all of you have already heard the excuses. I could enforce seatbelt use on my end but when you don't have someone that "leads by example" and doesn't enforce the basics................you get the picture.

I know bouncing in and out of trailers during loading/unloading causes some serious compression of the spine and back muscles, I'm just trying to find some sort of either scientific information or industry-lead studies to confirm.

Thanks for the replies so far.
  • Posted 25 May 2010 08:42
  • Reply by DockPlate
  • Texas, United States
I've seen companies buy "top of the line" seats to make forklift operators more comfortable.
  • Posted 25 May 2010 08:38
  • Reply by mrfixit
  • New York, United States
This is a post I put in awhile ago.
No doubt a dirty word....
Does anyone have any US. legal documentation regarding old ratchet style seatbelts used on lift trucks and back injuries from prolonged use?
I sent an e-mail to a professor that did a study for the CDC but he's been shy.

Thanks "

I got no replies.
Our industry upgraded to newer products with the improved seatbelt installed.
Dave
  • Posted 25 May 2010 08:21
  • Reply by TradeShowDave
  • California, United States

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