Chapter 22.2: Vibration

Chapter 22.2: Vibration


Vibration and noise are closely linked in that both originate from a vibrating body and both have similar physics as they are transmitted as waves through a medium. In contrast to occupational noise, there is to date no regulation for vibration hazards in Australian workplaces and these hazards are not well recognized. The health impacts of vibration can be significant and career limiting. Controlling the effects of vibration relies mainly on elimination and engineering measures. This chapter discusses the concept of vibration, its associated hazards and the effects on individuals. It provides a basic understanding of the health impacts of vibration, measurement of vibration, general controls and concludes with an examination of the role of the generalist OHS professional in the management of vibration hazards.

Keywords: Hand-arm vibration, whole-body, control

First year of publication: 2012
Current Version : 2019

Chapter 22.2: Vibration

Table of contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Definitions
2 Historical Context
3 Extent of the problem
4 Understanding vibration
4.1 Nature of vibration
4.2 Health effects of whole body vibration
4.3 Health effects of hand-arm vibration
5 Measurement and evaluation of risk associated with vibration
5.1 Vibration standards
5.2 National Policy
6 Legislation
7 Control of vibration hazards
8 Implications for OHS practice
9 Summary
Key thinkers

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Beno Groothoff MHlthSc, GDipOHS, DipMechEng, FAIOH, COH, MAAS,

Managing Director, Environmental Directions Pty Ltd

Beno has over 40 years experience in the fields of occupational hygiene and health and environmental control, gained both in Europe and in Australia. In Brisbane he worked with the Environmental Protection Agency followed by 22 years with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. As Managing Director of Environmental Directions Pty Ltd, he has written and presented workshops and training courses on noise and vibration for a number of organisations including Brüel & Kjær and the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygiene (AIOH). He lectures in occupational noise and vibration management in the Post Graduate OHS Course at QUT and environmental noise control at the Natural Sciences Faculty at University of Western Sydney.

Peer reviewers

Jane Whitelaw MAppSci (Env Health), FAIOH, COH
Lecturer, Postgraduate OHS Program, University of Wollongong

Marion Burgess MSc(Acoustics), FAAS
Research Officer, Acoustics and Vibration Unit, University of NSW, Canberra

Gary Foster BSc(Chem), MSc(Acoustics), COH,
FAIOH Managing Director, Foster OHS Pty Ltd

Learning outcomes for Vibration

The OHS Body of Knowledge takes a conceptual approach which enables it to be applied in different contexts and frameworks. To optimise its value for education and professional development learning outcomes have been developed for each technical chapter in the Body of Knowledge.

The learning outcomes as described give an indication of what should be the capabilities of a new graduate OHS professional in the workplace. I t is up to those developing OHS education programs, OHS professionals planning their CPD or recruiters or employers selecting or developing people for the OHS function to consider the required breadth vs. depth


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