OBJECTIVES--The purpose of this study was to compare various effects on the hand-arm system of vibration exposure from a chipping hammer and a grinder with the same frequency weighted acceleration. Grip and push forces were measured and monitored during the exposure. The various effects were: muscle activity (measured with surface electrodes), discomfort ratings for different parts of the hand-arm system (made during and after exposure), and vibration perception threshold (for 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after the exposure). RESULTS--No increase in muscle activity due to exposure to vibration was found in the hand muscle studied. In the forearm, conversely, there was an increase in both muscle studied. For the upper arm the muscle activity only increased when exposed to impact vibration. Subjective ratings in the hand and shift in vibration perception threshold were effected more by the grinder than the hammer exposure. CONCLUSION--These results show that the reaction of the hand-arm system to vibration varies with frequency quantitatively as well as qualitatively. They do not support the notion that one single frequency weighted curve would be valid for the different health effects of hand-arm vibration (vascular, musculoskeletal, neurological, and psychophysiological).
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