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0251 A twenty-two year longitudinal study of workers exposed to hand-held vibrating tools
  1. Rita Bast-Pettersen,
  2. Karl-Christian Nordby,
  3. Inger Helene Gudding,
  4. Elin Einarsdottir Thornér,
  5. Lisa Aarhus
  1. National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, Norway


Background Excessive use of hand-held vibrating tools can lead to hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), which is composed of vascular, neurological and muscular components. Typical symptoms are vasospasm of the fingers induced by cold, loss of sensitivity, tingling and paresthesia, and impaired hand function.

Moderate exposure may lead to less serious vascular and neurological symptoms.

Objectives The objectives were to evaluate different aspects of hand function in workers with current and previous exposure to vibrating hand tools, taking into account the possible effects from life-style habits such as tobacco and alcohol consumption.

Subjects and Methods Forty workers who had been employed in a specialised engineering and construction company, were tested with a test-battery together with a clinical examination in 1994. The company was shut down in 1999. The workers were retested in 2016/2017, more than 22 years after the first/baseline testing. Age at last examination was 60.7 years (44.6 to 77.8 years). They were examined with a test-battery comprising Vibrameter, Water plethysmograph, Tremor Pen from CATSYS, Grooved Pegboard, Finger Tapping Test, Hand Dynamometer and Pinch Grip.

The workers were interviewed about their work history, health complaints and life-style factors like alcohol consumption and smoking habits. Their exposure history was assessed as acceleration x lifetime exposure.

Biological samples (Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), cotinine, nicotine) were collected on the day of examination.

Results The data collection was finished by ultimo March 23rd 2017. Data analysis has started, and results from the project will be presented.

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