Rock drills expose workers to high levels of hand-arm vibration, and extensive use of these tools give an increased risk of hand-arm vibration syndrome. Hand-arm vibration exposure can be difficult to estimate by using the task-based method because of an intermittent exposure pattern and changing working conditions throughout the work shift. New advances in measurement technology make it possible to perform full-shift measurements at the workplace.Methods
Hand-arm vibration exposure for rock drillers/rock face stabilisers in Norway was assessed by full-shift field measurements with Svantek SV103 vibration metres on both right and left hand simultaneously.Result
The mean daily vibration exposure for the rock drillers was 4.9 m/s2(A8) (range 2.7–8.8) for the right hand and 4.4 m/s2(A8) (1.0–7.0) for the left hand, based on 17 full-shift measurements. The mean exposure magnitude from the tools was 14.0 m/s2 (9.2–20.0). For 12 of the 17 measurements the exposure was highest on the dominant hand.Discussion
The full-shift method was practical to implement in the field measurements, and should be considered as an alternative to the task based method. This method has the potential to reduce the uncertainties associated with unpredictable changes in exposure like changing hardness of the rock. The daily exposure to hand-arm vibrations for the rock drillers was high compared to the occupational exposure limit. Thus, implementation of efficient strategies to reduce vibration exposure is important.