Vibration impact of manually guided equipment in the woodworking industry

Project No. BGIA 4135


completed 01/2008


In the woodworking industry, manually guided power tools are employed which expose their users to vibration.
For the purpose of risk assessment in the context of the Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance on Noise and Vibration (LärmVibrationsArbSchV, based upon the Vibration Directive, 2002/44/EC), and in order to create a basis for prevention activity, the vibration impact of typical tools was measured under representative conditions of use. In addition, the analyses and evaluations were selected in their nature and scope such that the data are also suitable for determining the working conditions required for the incidence of formally recognized cases of occupational disease.


The project was conducted jointly by the BGIA Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the BG Institute Work and Health (BGAG). The project constitutes a cross-sectional study yielding an overview of the chief risks. For this purpose, in-plant measurements were conducted by the BGIA under typical working conditions on the following tools: manual planing machine, reciprocating saw (electric), orbital sander (pneumatic and electric), jigsaw (electric), manually guided circular saw, random orbital sander (pneumatic and electric), battery-powered screwdriver, pneumatic screwdriver, manual router and biscuit joiner.

In consideration of the results of the field measurements, laboratory tests were conducted at the BGAG on selected tools to determine the influence of the following parameters: tool used, working method, and test person.


The results of the vibration impact analyses can be used to identify key areas of prevention activity for the woodworking sector. On certain machines, particularly jigsaws and orbital and random orbital sanders, the values may vary considerably as a function of the conditions of use, resulting in the risk being seriously underestimated.
When corrected in accordance with CEN/TR 15350, however, the total vibration values measured in practice are for the greater part suitable for an accurate risk assessment.
The results are to be incorporated into standards development work. Analysis of the distribution of the vibration components over the frequency reveals a high low-frequency component, even on some rotary machines. The results are to form the basis for a further project studying the level and relevance of the duration of exposure. It is then to be decided whether a longitudinal study is to be conducted, and if so for which category of tools.

Further informations:

Last Update:

6 May 2008


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BGIA
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut Arbeit und Gesundheit - BGAG

wood working industry

Type of hazard:

Lärm/Vibrationen, Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Gestaltung von Arbeit und Technik


Belastung, Vibration, Prävention

Description, key words:

hand-arm vibration, manually guided equipment, woodworking, hazard assessment, prevention