Next Article in Journal
Necessity and Considerations for On-Body Vibration Measurement Equipment
Previous Article in Journal
Digital Skills among Women in Tourism in Serbia
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:
Proceeding Paper

Hand-Arm Vibration Exposure Trends among the Workforce in Sweden †

Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Medical Faculty, Umea University, 907 37 Umea, Sweden
Center for Occupational Environmental Medicine (CAMM), Region Stockholm, 113 65 Stockholm, Sweden
Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 15th International Conference on Hand-Arm Vibration, Nancy, France, 6–9 June 2023.
Proceedings 2023, 86(1), 2;
Published: 6 April 2023
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The 15th International Conference on Hand-Arm Vibration)


The aim of this research was to study hand-arm vibration (HAV) exposure trends in the workforce in Sweden by using a Job-Exposure matrix (JEM). All individuals employed during 1980 and 2010 with an occupational code were included. The daily eight-hour equivalent HAV exposure values were divided into three exposure categories. During the study period, the proportion of workers exposed above the action value had decreased, as well as the proportion of workers exposed to any HAV. In 2010, 4% of the workforce in Sweden were exposed to HAV above the action value.

1. Introduction

Hand-arm vibration (HAV) is common among construction, industry, forestry, and manufacturing workers. HAV could cause vascular, neurological, and musculoskeletal injuries over time [1]. It is therefore important to decrease the exposure levels. To study changes in HAV exposure over time, a Job-Exposure matrix was constructed for the Swedish workforce. The JEM consisted of the eight-hour equivalent HAV exposure connected to each occupational code. More participants could be included by using a JEM, and it could be used to study trends regarding the workforce. The aim of this paper was to study trends of HAV exposure from 1980 to 2010.

2. Materials and Methods

A worker was included if they were above 18 years old, employed for one year in the Swedish workforce during the study period of 1980–2010, and had a occupation with an occupational code. Information on age was gathered from the Register on the Entire Population (Registret över totalbefolkningen) at Statistics Sweden. Information on employment and job title among the Swedish workforce was gathered from FOB 1980 and 1990 and SSYK-96. Every occupation in Sweden is coded according to the occupational classifications of the National Labour Market Board (Arbetsmarknadsstyrelsens yrkesklassificering). The occupational classification code is based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations, ISCO-88-code system, and has been described elsewhere [2]. The FOB80 classification was used for exposures between 1980 and 1990, and SSYK96 was used for 2001–2013 with four-digit codes. The eight-hour equivalent HAV exposure level, A(8), was calculated for each occupational code and for each job classification system. The A(8) was calculated according to the present international standard ISO 5349-1. The HAV levels were based on earlier measurements from scientific articles, measurement reports, and vibration databases (n = 90). The exposure categories for the A(8) value were low (range: above 0 to <=1 m/s2), moderate (range: above 1 to <2.5 m/s2), and high (range: =>2.5). HAV exposure in the high group was set according to exposure above the action value from the EU directive on vibration [3].

3. Results

During the period 1980–2010, the proportion of workers exposed to high HAV levels decreased (Table 1). From 1980 to 2010, the proportion of workers in the low and moderate HAV exposed groups also decreased. In 2010, the proportion of workers with any HAV exposure decreased from 29% to 19%.

4. Discussion

The proportion of workers exposed to high HAV levels in Sweden declined during the study period. During this time, an EU directive was implemented to reduce workers’ exposure to HAV [3]. Some machines have better designs to reduce the vibration levels. Additionally, there are less workers in occupations in which they use hand-held vibrating tools, since manufacturing declined in Sweden during the study period.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, H.P., M.S., and J.S.; methodology, H.P., J.S., M.S., and M.W.; software, J.S.; validation, H.P.; formal analysis, J.S., M.W., and H.P.; investigation, H.P., M.S., and J.S.; resources, J.S.; data curation, J.S. and H.P.; writing—original draft preparation, H.P. and J.S.; writing—review and editing, H.P., J.S., M.S., and M.W.; visualization, H.P.; supervision, J.S.; project administration, J.S.; funding acquisition, J.S. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research was funded by The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE), grant number 2016-07185.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by The Ethical Review Board in Stockholm (protocol code 2018/1007-31/5).

Informed Consent Statement

Subject consent was waived due to use of Swedish public register data which allow universities in Sweden to conduct their own evaluations regarding consent and the use of data without consent if it will benefit the citizens.

Data Availability Statement

Information and data from the Job-Exposure matrix used will be available from February 2023 on the Karolinska Institutet homepage.


We appreciate the support in the construction of the JEM for HAV and the help of Bodil Björ at the Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Region Västerbotten in Umeå, Sweden.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to publish the results.


  1. Nilsson, T.; Wahlstrom, J.; Burstrom, L. Hand-arm vibration and the risk of vascular and neurological diseases-A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 2017, 12, e0180795. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
  2. Selander, J.; Albin, M.; Rosenhall, U.; Rylander, L.; Lewné, M.; Gustavsson, P. Maternal Occupational Exposure to Noise during Pregnancy and Hearing Dysfunction in Children: A Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study in Sweden. Environ. Health Perspect. 2015, 124, 855–860. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. EU. Directive 2002/44/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (vibration). Off. J. Eur. Communities 2002, 117, 6–7. [Google Scholar]
Table 1. Proportion of workers with daily equivalent hand-arm vibration exposure (low (range: above 0 to <=1 m/s2), moderate (range: above 1 to <2.5 m/s2), and high (range: =>2.5)) from 1980 to 2010.
Table 1. Proportion of workers with daily equivalent hand-arm vibration exposure (low (range: above 0 to <=1 m/s2), moderate (range: above 1 to <2.5 m/s2), and high (range: =>2.5)) from 1980 to 2010.
Disclaimer/Publisher’s Note: The statements, opinions and data contained in all publications are solely those of the individual author(s) and contributor(s) and not of MDPI and/or the editor(s). MDPI and/or the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to people or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Pettersson, H.; Sjöström, M.; Wikström, M.; Selander, J. Hand-Arm Vibration Exposure Trends among the Workforce in Sweden. Proceedings 2023, 86, 2.

AMA Style

Pettersson H, Sjöström M, Wikström M, Selander J. Hand-Arm Vibration Exposure Trends among the Workforce in Sweden. Proceedings. 2023; 86(1):2.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pettersson, Hans, Mattias Sjöström, Max Wikström, and Jenny Selander. 2023. "Hand-Arm Vibration Exposure Trends among the Workforce in Sweden" Proceedings 86, no. 1: 2.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop