NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Vibration and mining.
Ann Am Conf Gov Ind Hyg 1986 Jul; 14:37-40
Vibrational exposures in the mining industry and the nature of occupational vibrations were discussed. Two types of occupational vibrations can be distinguished: whole body vibrations (WBVs) and hand arm vibrations (HAVs). WBV result from vibrations being transmitted through supporting structures or contacting surfaces such as a work room floor or vehicle seat. HAVs were caused by vibrations that contact workers experienced through hand held power tools. Exposure to WBV has been shown to induce a nonspecific reaction similar to the general response to stress. Epidemiological studies have shown that WBVs from operating vehicles such as tractors, haulage trucks, and mobile heavy equipment, are associated with disorders of the spine, legs, arms, digestive system, genitourinary system, and circulatory system. Very few studies have been directed at WBVs from vehicles used in mining activities. Problems with epidemiological studies on the effects of WBV including using improperly selected study populations and study populations that have been exposed to other work related stresses were summarized. HAVs induced by using hand held power tools have been shown to cause a distinct occupational disorder known as vibration syndrome or vibration white finger (VWF). VWF was characterized by symptoms of peripheral neurologic and vascular dysfunction such as decreased manual dexterity and decreased sensitivity to touch, pain, and temperature. Epidemiological studies of VWF in mining workers were discussed with VWF prevalence rates as high as 90 percent being shown. The highest rates have been associated with using pneumatic impact hammers and jack/leg type drills. Since the prevalence of VWF has been shown to increase with increased mean time of exposure to vibrating tools, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists has proposed threshold limit values for HAV that decrease as the total daily exposure duration increases.
NIOSH-Author; Mining-industry; Underground-mining; Hand-tools; Vibration-disease; Hand-injuries; Epidemiology; Vibration-exposure; Occupational-exposure; Chronic-exposure
Annals of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division