The aim of the present study was to compare the development of vibration white fingers (VWF) in workers in relation to different ways of exposure estimation, and their relationship to the standard ISO 5349, annex A. Nineteen vibration exposed (grinding machines) male workers completed a questionnaire followed by a structured interview including questions regarding their estimated hand-held vibration exposure. Neurophysiological tests such as fractionated nerve conduction velocity in hands and arms, vibrotactile perception thresholds and temperature thresholds were determined. The subjective estimation of the mean daily exposure-time to vibrating tools was 192 min (range 18-480 min) among the workers. The estimated mean exposure time calculated from the consumption of grinding wheels was 42 min (range 18-60 min), approximately a four-fold overestimation (Wilcoxon's signed ranks test, p<0.001). Thus, objective measurements of the exposure time, related to the standard ISO 5349, which in this case were based on the consumption of grinding wheels, will in most cases give a better basis for adequate risk assessment than self-exposure assessment.