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A Human-Based Study of Hand–Arm Vibration Exposure Limits for Construction Workers



In many developed countries and cities, the construction industry, which is a major economic pillar, is expanding at a rapid pace. In this context, the use of construction machines and vibrating tools for various construction activities is indispensable. With the increasing use of handheld vibrating equipment, construction workers are exposed to hand-arm vibration (HAV), which is a serious occupational risk for those who work with vibrating tools and machinery that cause vibration damage to the fingers, hands and arms. Long-term and chronic exposure to HAV, it may induce hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), resulting in vascular, neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. HAVS causes permanent and irreversible damage, leading to a high level of disability and work impairment.


Due to its severity, a pilot study of HAV is revisited in accordance with the existing exposure points system from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive. Two important factors are considered, namely worker’s age and local climate (e.g., temperature and humidity). A simple idea is proposed to optimize the applicability of the exposure points system to different age groups and climates.

Results and Conclusion

The findings of this human-based study may be used as a practical reference for policymakers and contractors.

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The work described in this paper was supported by the research grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 11602210) and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Project No. 4-BCDS).

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Correspondence to Siu-Kai Lai.

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Lai, SK., Chui, J., Tong, L. et al. A Human-Based Study of Hand–Arm Vibration Exposure Limits for Construction Workers. J. Vib. Eng. Technol. 7, 379–388 (2019).

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  • Hand–arm vibration
  • Vibration exposure limits
  • Occupational safety
  • Climate effect
  • Age