Whole-Body Vibration Joint Injuries

Whole-body vibration joint injuries have always plagued railroad workers. Together, the hundreds of railroads in the U.S. employ thousands of individuals who put in millions of miles on their shifts aboard trains, experiencing thousands of hours of whole-body vibration.

The human body's 200-plus joints — the places between bones — work together with the bones and muscles to enable movement. If one or more joints are damaged by repetitive trauma injuries due to whole-body vibration, the damage may or may not be treatable.

Joint Injuries in Railroad Workers

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) permits lawsuits by railroad workers who are injured on the job, even if the injury is not immediately apparent. Cumulative trauma injuries are medical problems that do not manifest immediately; the repetitive stress of factors such as whole-body vibration experienced chronically are definitely potential bases for claims under the FELA.

Note that "whole-body" vibration is different from vibration that is experienced in isolated body parts such as the hands. A railroad worker's use of tools that vibrate could be the cause of a repetitive trauma injury, but not a whole-body vibration injury.

Some of the body's joints that can be harmed by whole-body vibration are:

  • Ball and socket joints (e.g., in the hips and shoulders): These are the most mobile type of joint, allowing the movement of the legs and arms in many different directions.
  • Ellipsoidal joints (e.g., the joint at the base of the index finger)
  • Gliding joints (there are some in the wrists and in the ankles)
  • Hinge joints (e.g., in the knees and elbows)
  • The pivot joint in the neck (it allows the head to turn from side to side)
  • Saddle joints (the only ones are in the thumbs)
  • The spine's vertebrae are joined by pads of cartilage

A common whole-body vibration joint injury is spinal damage, whether in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine, or the sacrum or coccyx.

Schedule a Consultation with a FELA Attorney

Whole-body vibration joint injuries can be debilitating. If you're a railroad worker with an injury that may be covered by FELA, learn more about your right to initiate a FELA lawsuit. To schedule a free case review, contact our FELA attorneys today.