Who is most at risk of vibration-related injury?

Last updated: 03 Mar 2020

Anyone is at risk if developing hand-arm vibration syndrome if they frequently use vibrating tools or machines such as:

  • concrete breakers
  • sanders, grinders, disc cutters
  • hammer drills
  • chipping hammers
  • chainsaws, brush cutters, hedge trimmers
  • powered mowers
  • scabblers or needle guns

People could be considered to be at a greater level of risk if they use hammer action tools for more than 15 minutes a day, and rotary and other “action” tools for more than an hour a day.

People working in industries such as construction, estate management and maintenance, forestry, heavy engineering, and shipbuilding and repair are most likely to be at risk.

Drivers of some mobile machines may be exposed to whole-body vibration and shocks, particularly those who are required to drive or exit the vehicle in cold or wet conditions and on rough and uneven surfaces. These machines include tractors, forklift trucks and quarrying or earth-moving machinery, among others.

Other work factors, such as posture and heavy lifting, can also contribute to back problems for drivers, but whole-body vibration can make this worse.

Older people, younger people, pregnant women and those with previous back or neck problems are likely to have an increased risk.

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