Mining Publication: Proceedings of the First American Conference on Human Vibration
Vibrations caused by power tools, machinery, vehicles, and heavy equipment are a ubiquitous feature of modern work environments. In the U.S., an estimated six million workers are in occupations exposed to whole-body vibration and more than one million workers are in occupations exposed to hand-transmitted vibration (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004). Since Alice Hamilton's seminal report in 1918 on vibration-induced hand disorders in quarry stonecutters, the potential health risks associated with prolonged and repeated vibration exposure have been well recognized and documented. Efforts to understand the exposure risk factors and adverse health effects of occupational vibration exposure have waxed and waned over the years. Despite numerous studies and technological advances in vibration measurement and control, the exposure risks and etiology of the adverse health effects are not well understood. Human exposure to vibration remains a major risk factor associated with vascular, neural, and musculoskeletal disorders. The First American Conference on Human Vibration (ACHV) was held in Morgantown, West Virginia, June 5-7, 2006. It was organized by the Health Effects Laboratory Division of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and West Virginia University Department of Continuing Education. This conference provided a unique opportunity for a multidisciplinary group of national and international experts to exchange current information on all aspects of segmental and whole-body vibration exposures. The attendees included industrial hygienists, engineers, physicians, epidemiologists, scientists, psychologists, physiologists, health and safety specialists, consultants, students, and other individuals from Government, industry, and academic institutions from the U.S., Canada, and more than seven other countries. Four keynote lectures and more than 60 papers were presented at this conference. Topics included vibration exposure measurement and quantification, biodynamic responses of wholebody and hand-arm system, subjective perceptions of vibration, physiological and pathological mechanisms, health effects, clinical diagnoses, epidemiological studies, prevention effectiveness, standard development and implementation. Presentations also described recent technological advances that may improve vibration measurement, tool and vehicle seat designs and tests, personal protection devices, and clinical diagnosis and assessment methods. The ACHV was intended to prompt the convening of future, biennial conferences on human vibration in North America. We hope that the publication of these conference proceedings will help encourage new research and technological advances so that the health hazards associated with occupation vibration exposures will be significantly reduced.