Many types of machinery, equipment and power-driven tools generate intense vibration. This vibration can then be transmitted to the workers who operate them.

There are two types of vibration: whole body vibration and hand-arm vibration - both can cause ill health.

Whole body vibration (WBV) is caused by poorly designed or poorly maintained vehicles, platforms or machinery results in:

  • Lower back pain (damage to vertebrae and discs, ligaments loosened from shaking)
  • Motion sickness
  • Bone damage
  • Varicose veins/heart conditions (variation in blood pressure from vibration);
  • Stomach and digestive conditions.

Hand-arm vibration (HAV) is caused by long term exposure from using hand held tools such as pneumatic tools (eg concrete breakers), chainsaws, grinders etc, causes a range of diseases, including:

  • White finger (also known as "dead finger" ) - damage to hands causing whiteness and pain in the fingers
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome (and other symptoms similar to occupational overuse syndrome)
  • Sensory nerve damage
  • Muscle and joint damage in the hands and arms

These diseases can have very serious consequences for people. The effects can be permanently disabling.

Read more on vibration