"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Vibration & Resonance Safety

(Chart is supposedly from Osha, looking for source)

Techniques to Control and/or Prevent Vibration in the Workplace

Before being considered as a nuisance, vibration was known to alleviate pain, and its therapeutic effects were used by the Chinese, the Greeks, and the Romans.  These beneficial effects are still used for pain relief and functional rehabilitation.  Throughout the following centuries, a large diversity of vibrating machines was invented and their utilization was almost exclusively reserved for medical application.

However in the early 18th century, Ramazzini, the first occupational physician, pointed out that vibration exposure had noxious effects.  These harmful effects have actually emerged with industrialization.

Effects of Vibration on the Human Body
Vibration, in relation to its effect on the human body, is measured in three distinct patterns or ranges.  These patterns range from Low Frequencies (zero to 2 HZ), Middle Frequencies (2 to 15-20 HZ), and High Frequencies (greater than 20 HZ).  These figures are important in the study of the effects of vibration on the body because of the harmful effects of the lower ranges.  It is well documented that the Low and Middle frequencies can cause more cumulative harm to the human body than vibrations at the higher frequencies.

The human body can (in these lower frequencies) amplify the vibration that exists from an outside source.  We know, for instance, that the musculoskeletal system (muscles, tendons and bones) can “be a path” for vibration and actually amplify the vibration as it moves through the body.  Let’s say you are using a pneumatic tool that has a vibration frequency rating in the lower, more harmful ranges.  If you were to measure the vibrations at the source (at the point where the tool touches the hand) and at the shoulder, you could see that the vibration was actually stronger at the shoulder.

The cumulative effects on the body can be wide and varied.  Some of the more common disorders are White Finger Disease (Raynaud’s Syndrome), Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendonitis, and various bone and joint disorders.  Long term exposure to vibration can also cause nausea, impaired vision, hyperventilation, raised blood pressure, impaired cardiac rhythm, and increased energy dissipation leading to exhaustion.

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