The objective of this study is to propose a theory on the biodynamic frequency weighting for studying hand-transmitted vibration exposures and vibration-induced effects. We hypothesize that the development of a vibration effect is the result of two consecutive but synergistic processes: biodynamic responses to input vibration and biological responses to the biomechanical stimuli resulting from the biodynamic responses. Hence, we further hypothesize that the frequency-dependency (W) of the effect generally includes two components: a biodynamic frequency weighting (W1) and a biological frequency weighting (W2), or W=W1• W2. These hypotheses are consistent with the stress and strain analysis theory and methods widely used in structural dynamics and biomechanics. The factorization may make it easier to study the complex frequency-dependency using different approaches: the biodynamic frequency weighting depends on the passive physical response of the system to vibration, and it can thus be determined by examining the biodynamic response of the system using various engineering methods; on the other hand, the biological frequency weighting depends on the biological mechanisms of the effects, and it can be investigated by studying the psychophysical, physiological, and pathological responses. To help test these hypotheses, this study reviewed and further developed methods to derive the finger biodynamic frequency weighting. As a result, preliminary finger biodynamic frequency weightings are proposed. The implications of the proposed theory and the preliminary biodynamic frequency weightings are also discussed.
2012 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health