Abstract Direct observation, instead of using self-administered questionnaires might give more reliable and specific information about physical work demands at the workplace. This information is of use in a population already at risk of developing low back pain (LBP) due to whole body vibration (WBV) exposure. The aims of this study are to assess the WBV exposure in an exposed population and to assess other physical work demands in two ways, by direct observation and with the use of a self-administered questionnaire. We therefore assessed the WBV magnitude and 5 WBV-related physical work demands by using the PalmTrac system and a self-administered questionnaire in a group of drivers ( N=10). The main findings are 7 out of 10 drivers are exceeding the EU action value. About 50% of the drivers under-estimated the time ‘bending’, 60% the time ‘walking+standing’ and 60% over-estimated the time when ‘lifting.’ We concluded that 7 drivers from this group are at risk of developing LBP and substantial differences exists for the 5 physical work demands comparing the PalmTrac method with the questionnaire. Direct observational assessment in WBV measurements yields extra information. This is useful for preventive activities necessary as drivers are exceeding the EU action value.