Back Injury Risks in Driving (BIRD) Tool

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Overview of the risk management tools: What are they and how should they be used? watch on-demandlink opens in a new window


The 'Back Injury Risks in Driving Tool' is designed to collect information that will help determine those issues that present the greatest risk of back injury and discomfort to drivers and provide pointers to improvements that may be made to reduce those risks.

There is an excess of lower back pain and injury amongst those workers involved with driving activities; many factors may be responsible, either alone or in combination. HSE recommends taking a holistic approach to managing risks of back pain, considering posture, twisting and manual handling as well as vibration exposure.

Generally, vibration risk is related to driving speed and the quality of road surfaces. Back pain is more likely to be associated with off-road driving, rather than driving on roads or good quality surfaces.

The most prevalent industries and activities are:

  • agriculture / forestry / military
  • civil works (earth moving)
  • industrial truck driving e.g., warehouse / airports
  • mines / quarries
  • ports
  • road transport
  • other (off-road)
  • other (tarmac or similar roads

Download the whole-body vibration guide (L141)link opens in a new window for background information and to learn more about back-pain health risks for employees driving mobile machines or other work vehicles over poor surfaces as a main part of their job.

The BIRD Tool enables organisations to identify hazards linked to:

  • poor design of controls, making it difficult for the driver to operate the machine or vehicle easily or to see properly without twisting or stretching
  • incorrect adjustment by the driver of the seat position and hand and foot controls, so that it is necessary to continually twist, bend, lean and stretch to operate the machine
  • sitting for long periods without being able to change position
  • poor driver posture
  • repeated manual handling and lifting of loads by the driver
  • repeatedly climbing into, or jumping down from, a high cab, or repeatedly getting into and out of a cab that is difficult to access
  • excessive exposure to whole-body vibration, particularly to shocks and jolts

The Tool is offered as part of the manual handling suite and includes:

  • the ability to tailor and set demographics to fit your organisational structure
  • a bespoke mobile app to complete the identifiers offline
  • easily access all tasks once completed
  • an overall organisation report to examine the identifiers
  • an intuitive filtering system to analyse results based on the various demographics, such as location, assessor and department

Once identifiers have been completed, the Tool consolidates all the tasks in one central system, so they can be easily reviewed and analysed.

In addition to the organisation report, the system includes the functionality to filter based on the demographics or task. This helps to extract the reports and send them to managers responsible for health and safety at a local level, with details of the priority areas to be addressed.

Ultimately, the Tool will save central management time and effort, and will help achieve a robust risk management programme.

Beta: BIRD Tool Demonstration

A demo version is available to see and understand how the BIRD Tool works. Access the tool here:

Browse an example auto-reportlink opens in a new window to see what data you can obtain from the system.

Licence Pricing

The BIRD Tool is part of the MSD Tool suite, and these prices allow administrative and user rights (all prices are excluding VAT). For example, you could pay for 100 assessments and complete 50 BIRD, 25, ART and 25 MAC.

For those conducting more than 1,000 assessments per annum a price is available on request.

Licence Tier (Number of MSD assessments per year)Max. number of assessments per yearLicence Fee (excluding VAT) per yearMax. number of accounts* per year
up to 5050£4001

Licence permits use of the tool according to the appropriate number of assessments conducted. Should the number of assessments increase, or you wish to expand the licence to cover other parts of the organisation, you will be required to upgrade to the next band.

*Max number of accounts refers to the number of distinct customer logins created at each licence tier. Additional account logins can be purchased at any licence tier level by contacting the Helpdesk and are charged at £100 + VAT for each additional login.

To enquire or purchase the BIRD Tool

Confirm the number of assessments you require per year and contact us for an official quote:

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