Abstract The objective of this research is to numerically determine the levels of vibration not to exceed accordingly to the corresponding dynamic stresses in the lumbar rachis when exposed to whole-body vibrations in order to identify the risk of adverse health effect to which professional heavy equipment drivers are particularly prone. A parametric finite element model of the lumbar rachis is generated in order to compute the modal parameters, the dynamic stresses and forces under harmonic excitations in a seated posture. The stress analysis reveals that the areas exposed to the highest fracture risk are the cancellous bone of the vertebral body as well as the vertebral endplate when vertical vibrations are transmitted from a seat to the lumbar spine of a driver. An injury risk factor has been developed in order to estimate the risk of adverse health effect arising from mechanical vibrations. It is shown that the injury risk factor increases with the age and consequently that the excitation amplitude must be limited to lower levels when age increases.