Adverse health manifestations in the hands of vibration exposed carpenters - a cross sectional study

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Abstract

Background: Despite EU regulatory standards, many workers suffer injury as a result of working with hand-held vibrating tools. Our aim of this study was to confirm whether carpenters, a highly exposed group, suffer more injuries to their hands than painters, a group assumed to be less exposed to vibration. Methods: 193 carpenters (participation rate 100%) and 72 painters (participation rate 67%), all men, answered a questionnaire and underwent a clinical examination to identify manifestations of neural and vascular origin in the hands. Neurosensory affection was defined as having at least one symptom in the fingers/hands (impaired perception of touch, warmth, or cold, impaired dexterity, increased sensation of cold, numbness or tingling, or pain in the fingers/hands when cold) and at least one clinical finding (impaired perception of touch, warmth, cold, vibration, or two-point discrimination). Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: Neurosensory affection was fulfilled for 31% of the carpenters and 17% of the painters, age-adjusted OR 3.3 (CI 1.6–7.0). Among carpenters with neurosensory affection 18% reported interference with daily life activities, the most common symptoms being increased sensation of cold, numbness and pain in the fingers/hands when cold, the most common clinical findings were impaired perception of touch and vibration. Neurosensory affection was found in 12% of young carpenters (≤ 30 years old). No difference was found in the prevalence of white fingers between carpenters and painters. Conclusions: Carpenters showed more symptoms and clinical findings of neurosensory affection than painters, probably due to vibration exposure. Also young carpenters showed signs of neurosensory affection, which indicates that under current conditions workers at these companies are not protected against injury. This underlines the importance of reducing exposure to vibration and conducting regular medical check-ups to detect early signs of neural and vascular manifestations indicating hand-arm vibration injuries. Special attention should be given to symptoms of increased sensation of cold, pain in the fingers when cold, and numbness, as these were the most common initiating ones, and should be addressed as early as possible in the preventive sentinel process. It is also important to test clinically for small- and large-fibre neuropathy, as the individual may be unaware of any pathology.

Detaljer

Författare
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Umeå University
Forskningsområden

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin

Nyckelord

Originalspråkengelska
Artikelnummer16
TidskriftJournal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
Volym16
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2021 dec 1
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa