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Occup Med (Lond). 2014 Dec;64(8):629-34. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqu121. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Work ability in vibration-exposed workers.

Author information

1
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Box 414, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. lars.gerhardsson@amm.gu.se.
2
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Box 414, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hand-arm vibration exposure may cause hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) including sensorineural disturbances.

AIMS:

To investigate which factors had the strongest impact on work ability in vibration-exposed workers.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional study in which vibration-exposed workers referred to a department of occupational and environmental medicine were compared with a randomized sample of unexposed subjects from the general population of the city of Gothenburg. All participants underwent a structured interview, answered several questionnaires and had a physical examination including measurements of hand and finger muscle strength and vibrotactile and thermal perception thresholds.

RESULTS:

The vibration-exposed group (47 subjects) showed significantly reduced sensitivity to cold and warmth in digit 2 bilaterally (P < 0.01) and in digit 5 in the left hand (P < 0.05) and to warmth in digit 5 in the right hand (P < 0.01), compared with the 18 referents. Similarly, tactilometry showed significantly raised vibration perception thresholds among the workers (P < 0.05). A strong relationship was found for the following multiple regression model: estimated work ability = 11.4 - 0.1 × age - 2.3 × current stress level - 2.5 × current pain in hands/arms (multiple r = 0.68; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Vibration-exposed workers showed raised vibrotactile and thermal perception thresholds, compared with unexposed referents. Multiple regression analysis indicated that stress disorders and muscle pain in hands/arms must also be considered when evaluating work ability among subjects with HAVS.

KEYWORDS:

Hand–arm vibration syndrome; pain and stress disorders; vibration exposure; work ability.

PMID:
25145484
PMCID:
PMC4239793
DOI:
10.1093/occmed/kqu121
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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