Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1987;13(4):286-289    pdf


Ergonomics and the effects of vibration in hand-intensive work.

by Armstrong TJ, Fine LJ, Radwin RG, Silverstein BS

Along with ergonomic factors, such as forceful and repeated exertion and certain postures, vibration has been cited as a factor of chronic nerve and tendon disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. The arguments for the contribution of vibration come from epidemiologic studies, clinical case analyses, and studies of short-term effects. It is well established that vibration stimulates muscle contraction, which is called the tonic vibration reflex. It is also known that vibration reduces tactility and that tactility affects the amount of force exerted to hold or manipulate a given object. For localized vibration exposure of the hand and arm to occur, the hand must grip a vibrating object. Vibration may increase the risk of chronic tendon and nerve disorders by increasing the force exerted in repetitive manual tasks. This close relationship between force and vibration, and difficulties in measuring force and vibration in manual work, makes it very difficult to determine their relative contributions in epidemiologic and clinical studies.