To determine the effect of occupational stress on low-back pain (LBP), a cross-sectional study has been carried out, by interviews, on workers exposed to 3 stresses: manual handling (MH, 82 women and 264 men), whole body vibrations (WBV, 274 men), and static postures (278 women). Anthropometric data, occupational stress, LBP severity and frequency, and a psychological evaluation of these groups were compared to those of a control population of 208 workers (104 men and 104 women). The results show that 30% of the population had never suffered from LBP. Age and the body mass index of the workers were the parameters most closely associated with LBP. Women involved in MH had higher frequency and severity of LBP than their reference population. Men involved in MH or exposed to WBV had higher frequency of painful episodes than their reference population. Workers exposed to one of the stresses were on sick leave for LBP more often, and for longer periods, than workers in the reference group. The results show that individual factors are often decisive in the onset of LBP. Nevertheless, in the more serious LBP cases, occupational stress is an aggravating factor for LBP and its consequences.