Impulsiveness is defined as the difference between peak and root-mean-square signals. As the difference varies in time, the cumulative distribution function has been used to describe the probability of achieving a certain value of impulsiveness. To make numerical comparison of different vibration signals possible, an impulse index has been selected from the cumulative distribution function. Symptoms of vibration-induced white finger were observed and compared to those expected on the basis of measurements taken according to guidelines of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Agreement was found for chain-saw vibration. In the case of pedestal grinding, the ISO draft underestimated the hazardous effects of vibration. Stone workers using pneumatic hammers were exposed to highly impulsive but asymmetrical vibration. The corresponding asymmetry was not, however, observed between the symptoms of the left and right hands, a finding which indicates that coupling between the tool and the hand is important for impulse vibration. The results suggest that the impulse character of vibration increases the risk of vibration-induced pathology. The analysis of high-impulse acceleration peaks obtained by the method presented in this study could provide additional data necessary to improve risk assessment.