Introduction There is a shortage of information on hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) data among exposed workers in developing countries, in particular hot regions. The oil industry in United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expanding and vibrating tools are used regularly in this industry. Data on the degree of exposure to hand arm vibration and associated symptoms among exposed workers in UAE are scarce.
Methods All workers (n=115) exposed to hand-arm vibration in the company were included. Personal vibration levels were measured for vibration tools used for different job titles. Personal A (8) daily exposure values were calculated for all by combining typical daily exposure duration with measured tool vibration levels. A questionnaire was administered to all workers.
Results 5 participants were excluded due to Diabetes. Participants were divided in three exposure categories using the A (8) values. The prevalence of HAVS among the 110 participants was 13.6% (vibration white finger 0.9%,neurosensory symptoms 3.6%, and 9.1% musculoskeletal symptoms). Cases of HAVS increased significantly with age, increasing exposure categories and total years vibration exposure. Multiple logistic regression analysis delineated that the only statistical significant predictor of HAVS was the current A (8) exposure level. Participants in highest exposure category were at a risk of HAVS 37 times greater than those in the lowest exposure category. (CI: 5–270.6).
Conclusion This is the first study of occupational exposure to vibration and risk factors for HAVS amongst oil workers in UAE. The study shows that the sensorineural and musculoskeletal components are more common then the vascular in warm area. Also HAVS symptoms were found to increase with increasing current A (8) exposure levels. It is essential that follow-up studies be carried out among larger numbers of hand-arm vibration exposed workers and appropriate health surveillance program developed to identify early sensorineural and musculoskeletal symptoms.
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