Vibration induced white-feet: Overview and field study of vibration exposure and reported symptoms in workers
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4597303
Funding:KSK1/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
Workers who stand on platforms or equipment that vibrate are exposed to foot-transmitted vibration (FTV). Exposure to FTV can lead to vibration white feet/toes resulting in blanching of the toes, and tingling and numbness in the feet and toes.
The objectives are 1) to review the current state of knowledge of the health risks associated with foot-transmitted vibration (FTV), and 2) to identify the characteristics of FTV and discuss the associated risk of vibration-induced injury.
Workers who operated locomotives (n = 3), bolting platforms (n = 10), jumbo drills (n = 7), raise drilling platforms (n = 4), and crushers (n = 3), participated.
A tri-axial accelerometer was used to measure FTV in accordance with ISO 2631-1 guidelines. Frequency-weighted root-mean-square acceleration and the dominant frequency are reported. Participants were also asked to report pain/ache/discomfort in the hands and/or feet.
Reports of pain/discomfort/ache were highest in raise platform workers and jumbo drill operators who were exposed to FTV in the 40 Hz and 28 Hz range respectively. Reports of discomfort/ache/pain were lowest in the locomotive and crusher operators who were exposed to FTV below 10 Hz. These findings are consistent with animal studies that have shown vascular and neural damage in exposed appendages occurs at frequencies above 40 Hz.
Operators exposed to FTV at 40 Hz appear to be at greater risk of experiencing vibration induced injury. Future research is required to document the characteristics of FTV and epidemiological evidence is required to link exposure with injury.
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