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Vibration syndrome in Forestry Commission chain saw operators
  1. W. Taylor,
  2. J. Pearson,
  3. R. L. Kell,
  4. G. D. Keighley
  1. The Department of Social and Occupational Medicine, University of Dundee
  2. The Forestry Commission of Great Britain


    Taylor, W., Pearson, J., Kell, R. L., and Keighley, G. D. (1971). Brit. J. industr. Med., 28, 83-89. Vibration syndrome in Forestry Commission chain saw operators. A preliminary investigation has been made into the prevalence of the vibration syndrome in the employees of the Forestry Commission (Britain). A questionnaire covered 20 randomly selected employees for each of 40 forests chosen at random, giving a total sample of 800 out of 9 600 employees. Of the 756 employees still with the Forestry Commission, 732 responded (97%). The analyses were confined to the 711 male employees, of whom 142 were chain saw operators. In this number, the prevalence of the vibration syndrome was 44% whereas in men who did not handle the chain saw the prevalence was significantly lower at 18% (0·005 level of significance). A regional difference was found. South England showed the highest rate at 69% compared with North England at 31% and Scotland at 33%. An increase in prevalence with years of chain saw usage was found, starting at around two years with a marked increase (73%) at over eight years. In part, this effect explains the regional differences. Men with the syndrome were significantly more affected by chilling at work, during rest periods, and while sheltering from bad weather, with blanching of the fingers (89%) most affected by the weather, followed by sensory loss (84%).

    During the survey vibration levels were measured on 18 chain saws. The major vibration component from each saw fell within the 125 Hz octave band and the vibration levels considerably exceeded the criterion of Axelsson (1968). In 16 of the saws the amplitudes were greater on the lower (trigger) handle.

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