716 Health effects from hand-arm vibrations in swedish mechanical industry


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Abstract

BackgroundWorking with handheld vibrating tools is common in the mechanical industry and one of the main causes of occupational disease in Sweden. There are several well-known effects on vascular, neurological and musculoskeletal symptoms in the hands from vibrations.MethodsThis report is based on medical examinations performed on 38 males at a mechanical industry. The medical examination consisted of questionnaires regarding symptoms and exposure, standardised medical examination and quantitative sensory testing (QST). The exposure to hand-arm vibrations was also measured. Blood samples were collected to investigate for biological markers for vibration exposure.Results24% of the exposed subjects had vascular symptoms in form of Raynaud´s phenomenon, and 37% had increased cold intolerance. More common was neurological symptoms which affected nearly 60% of the exposed subject. Although the vibration exposure was not above the Swedish threshold limit of 5 m/s2, nearly 37% of those surveyed showed signs of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Analysis of the biological markers in the blood samples will be performed soon.ConclusionThis study shows that health effects from exposure to hand-arm vibration are common in the study group even if the vibration exposure is below the Swedish occupational threshold limit of 5 m/s2.

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