Human Vibration Surveys

Employee exposure to vibration occurs in many work settings. Human vibration generally falls into two categories, namely, whole body vibration and hand arm vibration.

Whole body vibration occurs when transmission of vibration takes place through a broad body contact area. such vibration may be transmitted through the feet, buttocks or the whole body.  Sources of whole body vibration include:

  • heavy construction
  • forklifts
  • vehicles and
  • farming

 Negative health effects associated with whole body vibration include:

  • fatigue
  • lower back pain
  • vision problems
  • interference with or irritation of the lungs, abdomen, or bladder and
  • adverse health effects to the digestive , genital / urinary and female reproductive systems.

Hand arm vibration occurs when vibration is transmitted to the hand and arm when hand held power tools and hand guided equipment are used. It may also occur when holding materials being processed by machines.

It is therefore, essential that vibration exposure assessments are made. This includes assessment of effects on whole body and hand arm vibration, from use of heavy machinery and equipment. It can be achieved with the use of human vibration meters. The aim should be to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to vibration.