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O17-6 A survival analysis of vibration-related occupational disease and implications for evaluating interventions
  1. David Berk1,
  2. Massimo Bovenzi2,
  3. Stefania Curti2,
  4. Jill Stocks1
  1. 1University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy


Background Regular exposure to hand-arm vibration can lead to hand-arm vibration (HAVS) and carpal tunnel (CTS) syndromes. EU Directive 2002/44/EC, which aims to improve surveillance and reduce exposure to vibration at work, defines exposure limits for hand-arm-vibration. The aim is to investigate whether the staged implementation of the directive since 2005 has been associated with a change in the incidence of HAVS or CTS in European countries. To model the range of potential outcomes of the intervention, we sought to define an exposure-risk relationship based on the best available prospective longitudinal data for exposed workers.

Methods In a series of studies, which have been subject of previous publications,1,2 forestry and stone workers were monitored at intervals of 1 to 5 years, on 1 to 4 occasions. Health status, annual hours of exposure and magnitude of vibration were recorded. In the present study, a novel analytical approach was applied to define a parametric survival function describing the incidence of HAVS as a function of various exposure metrics.

Results Incidence of the vascular condition vibration-induced white finger was well described by a Weibull distribution with an increasing hazard rate. The resulting parametric equation reveals the role of duration of exposure and the vibration magnitude (m s-2) relative to a threshold magnitude.

Conclusion The exposure-risk relationship, which differs in some respects from the exposure relationship described in current standards (e.g. ISO 5349-1, 2001), has a simple, mechanistically based form that can be easily applied to simulate the consequences of workplace interventions.


  1. Bovenzi M. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2008;81:401–408. doi:10.1007/s00420-007-0225-9

  2. Bovenzi M. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2010;83:259–272. doi:10.1007/s00420-009-0461-2

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