Human Hand And Arm Vibration In The Workplace

29 March 2016

In this short article we look at hand and arm vibration, who’s at risk and what equipment can be used for testing.

What Is Human Vibration?

Human vibration is the effect of mechanical vibration in the environment on the human body.

Who Is Affected?

Most people are exposed to vibration in one form or another in day to day life while traveling in public transportation or cars. Typically exposures like this don’t cause issues for most people but it all depends on the frequency, intensity and how long the person is exposed for. Construction Workers and those Engineers working in labs are more at risk from vibrations produced by hand-tools, machinery or heavy vehicles. Excessive vibration can lead to damaged blood vessels and muscles. Key signs of hand and arm vibration damage are tingling in the hand, arm or white finger tips as in the case of “white finger syndrome” . It’s important to take pre-cautions ahead of time and ensure that workers are tested on a regular basis. This is why most Health and Safety Managers use something like the Svantek SV106 Human Vibration Meter available at A datasheet can be downloaded below. The Svantek SV106 meets with the European Directive standard 2002/44/EC and includes software for producing reports and graphs.

What Are The Different Types Of Human Vibration?

The two different types of human vibration Whole Body and Hand-Arm Vibration

  • Whole-body vibration is transmitted to the body as a whole, typically through surfaces of the feet, buttocks, and back etc. Long-term exposure to whole-body vibration can either cause permanent physical damage or affect the nervous system.

  • Hand-arm vibration as you might expect is felt through the hand and arm. As mentioned earlier, regular exposure to hand-arm vibration over a period of time can cause permanent physical damage


There have been many studies over the years regarding the effects of overexposure of vibration in humans especially in the workplace. Results from all these studies have made it possible for standards to be set worldwide for human vibration to be evaluated such as the European Directive 2002/44/EC. If you have any questions or would like information on equipment for testing hand and arm vibrations in the UK or Ireland like the Svantek SV106 please contact us on +44 (0) 161 871 7450 or