Harmful Effects of Vibration on the Human Body

Harmful Effects of Vibration on the Human Body
  • Opening Intro -

    When you must work with power tools for multiple hours at your job, your body is exposed to constant vibration.

    Many people might assume that nothing harmful can come from vibration exposure, but the opposite is true.

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Over time, vibration exposure takes a toll on the body, and for millions of labor workers, it can lead to various health problems. This can result in lifelong irreversible damage that can affect your daily life routines.

So what are some ways to prevent overexposure to vibration, and what are the different types of vibration harm the body can experience? Here are some of the harmful effects of vibration on the human body that you should know about.

They’ll keep you aware of any early symptoms and allow you to stay safe from permanent bodily injuries.

Whole-Body Vibration

Whole-body vibration, or WBV, is caused by poorly designed or maintained vehicles, machinery, or platforms. When a worker operates a truck, tractor, ship, and so on, vibrations transfer through the vehicle and its seat to the operator’s lumbar spine and pelvis.

Some symptoms of WBV include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Bone damage
  • Stomach and digestive conditions
  • Motion sickness
  • Varicose veins and heart conditions
  • Reproductive organ damage
  • Impaired vision or balance
  • Respiratory, endocrine, and metabolic changes

Repeated exposure affects the spinal discs and triggers lower back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders. The longer the human body is exposed to WBV, the greater the chance of health effects.

Hand-Arm Vibration

Hand-arm vibration, or HAV, comes from long-term exposure to handheld tools such as chain saws, grinders, pneumatic tools, jackhammers, drills, and so on. It’s an accumulation of vibration-induced neurological, vascular, and musculoskeletal disorders in the hand-arm system, resulting in lifelong ailments.

Some symptoms of HAV include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Sensory nerve damage
  • White fingers
  • Muscle and joint damages

The damage accumulated from vibration varies depending on the length of exposure, amplitude, and frequency. As the symptoms grow over time, they can lead to severe consequences and potentially permanently disability after a few years.

So understanding the harmful effects of vibration on the human body will help you establish prevention methods before it’s too late.

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Solutions for Vibration Harm

A few tips to reduce the risk of vibration exposure include employing dampening techniques, placing vibration isolators on equipment, allowing 10- to 15-minute breaks between tool usage, educating yourself on vibration hazards, and adjusting your grip.

Additionally, anti-vibration gloves prevent bodily harm, as they dampen and absorb vibrations from power tools without putting you in harm’s way. Lastly, remember to keep your hands warm while you work in cold conditions to allow for blood flow throughout your arms.

As long as you take preventative measures, you’ll have a significantly lower chance of bodily harm from vibration. Vibration harm is nothing to scoff at, so stay wary and allow yourself breaks.

If you’re worried that you have hand-arm vibration or whole-body vibration symptoms, please make sure to get in contact with your doctor and make your employer aware of your concerns.

Image Credit: by Adobe Stock royalty-free image#9418496

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