Many Maryland workers may be subject to potential injuries caused over time by exposure to vibration in the workplace. Jackhammers, grinders, pneumatic wrenches, saws, sanders, heavy construction equipment and dental tools are all sources of high-rate vibration. Depending on how and where the vibration is focused in the body, the type of vibration is categorized as hand-arm vibration or whole-body vibration. The former can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, while whole-body vibration is a leading cause of lower back pain.
Although vibration monitoring is commonplace in equipment and machinery, relatively few safeguards or safety protocols exist for human vibration exposure. The European Union has set exposure limits for both types of vibration, as well as requiring equipment and tool manufacturers to disclose vibration rating data. Such limits have not been uniformly adopted in the United States.