Vibration and Noise Exposure in Forestry Workers

(NIOSH/CDC, 1998-2002) Workers in the forest industry are exposed to a number of sources of hand-arm and whole-body vibration, including a variety of hand tools and heavy equipment. Vibration exposure in forestry workers has been associated with negative health effects such as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) in several countries. The development of HAVS, or any of the ailments it encompasses, can force workers out of their employment by preventing them from performing their normal job tasks. This study collected task-based vibration measurements on forestry workers using a variety of vibration-producing equipment. The vibration assessments performed included hand-arm (segmental) vibration and whole-body vibration. Noise exposures measurements were taken simultaneously in order to estimate the degree to which vibration exposure levels may be predicted by noise exposure levels. This study generated data which will also provide a basis for possible exposure control methodologies.

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