Annual incidence of non-specific low back pain as an occupational disease attributed to whole-body vibration according to the National Dutch Register 2005–2012

Non-specific low back pain (nLBP) is the second most important reason for sick leave in the Netherlands, and more than 50% of the workers on sick leave attribute these complaints to their work. To stimulate recognition and prevention, an occupational disease (OD) registration-guideline was implemented for the assessment of the work-relatedness of nLBP in the Netherlands in 2005.

The aim of this study is to present the annual incidence of nLBP as an OD and specifically for whole-body vibration (WBV) including patient characteristics such as age, sick leave and actions initiated by the occupational physician (OP). The data were retrieved from the National Dutch Register for 2005–2012. Each year about 118 OPs reported 509 cases (SD 139) of nLBP as an OD in a Dutch working population of 7.5 million workers (8% of all annual reported ODs). Less than 1% of these cases were attributed to WBV: 94% were men, 45% were between 51 and 60 years and 35% were on sick leave for more than 2 weeks. Most initiated actions were ergonomic interventions (35%).

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