Evaluation of hand-arm and whole-body vibrations in construction and property management
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(2010). Evaluation of hand-arm and whole-body vibrations in construction and property management. The Annals of Occupational Hygiene 54 (8), 904-914
Design: This study was carried out in a construction and property management company, employees (n = 469) working in the engineering services and maintenance departments who use vibrating equipment as part of their work were invited to participate. Two hundred and eighty-nine employees working as general operatives, excavator drivers, stone masons, carpenters, labourers, fitters, welders, and gardeners agreed to participate. Methods: A total of 20 types of hand tool (n = 264) and 11 types of vehicle (n = 158) in use within the company were selected for inclusion in the study. Five pieces of equipment had never previously been measured. Vibration measurements were carried out in accordance with ISO 5349-1 (Mechanical vibration-measurement and assessment of human exposure to hand transmitted vibration-Part 1: general guidance. 2001) (HAV) and ISO 2631-1 (Mechanical vibration and shock: evaluation of human exposure to WBV in the working environment. Part 1-general requirements. 1997) (WBV). Vibration measurements were made while workers were operating the equipment as part of their normal work activities. Results: A wide range of vibration emission values were recorded for most tool types, e.g. orbital sanders (1.39-10.90 m s(-2)) and angle grinders (0.28-12.25 m s(-2)), and vehicle, e.g. forklifts (0.41-1.00 m s(-2)) and tractors (0.04-0.42 m s(-2)). Vibration magnitudes were largely consistent with those found in previous studies. The highest HAV magnitude was measured on a demolition hammer (13.3 m s(-2)) and the highest WBV magnitudes were measured on an excavator with a rock breaking attachment (5.81 m s(-2)). HAV magnitudes were found to be particularly strongly influenced by tool age, while WBV magnitudes varied with work activity and terrain. Conclusions: Within the construction and management company, few hand tools (3 of 20) exceeded the exposure action values (EAV) specified in the European Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive 2002/44/EC [On the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of works to the risks arising form physical agents (vibration)], when used for an 8-h period. HAV magnitudes were found to be very dependent on tool age, highlighting the importance of a tool maintenance programme incorporating tool work life prediction supported by regular vibration exposure measurements. Most of the vehicles (10 of 11) tested in this study exceeded the EAV specified for WBV, when operated for 8 h. WBV magnitudes were found to be dependent on the work task and thus, job rotation could be employed to control WBV exposures to acceptable levels.
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