Occupational exposure to vibration through the use of power- and pneumatic hand-tools results in cold-induced vasospasms, finger blanching, and alterations in sensorineural function. Collectively, these symptoms are referred to as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Currently the International Standards Organization (ISO) standard ISO 5349-1 contains a frequency-weighting curve to help workers and employers predict the risk of developing HAVS with exposure to vibration of different frequencies. However, recent epidemiological and experimental evidence suggests that this curve under-represents the risk of injuries to the hands and fingers induced by exposure to vibration at higher frequencies (>100 Hz). To improve the curve, better exposure-response data need to be collected. The goal of this review is to summarize the results of animal and computational modeling studies that have examined the frequency-dependent effects of vibration, and discuss where additional research would be beneficial to fill these research gaps.
2012 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health