Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1987;13(4):305-308    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.2035 | Issue date: Aug 1987

Longitudinal study of vibration-induced white finger among coastal fallers in British Columbia.

by Brubaker RL, Mackenzie CJ, Hertzman C, Hutton SG, Slakov J

Symptom-based vibration-induced white finger was determined longitudinally from a questionnaire administered to 71 full-time fallers exposed 2-4 h daily to generally heavy (greater than 11 kg), large displacement (greater than 95 cc) chain saws. The prevalence of Raynaud's phenomenon among 55 fallers (after 16 fallers were excluded because of possible confounders) was 51% in 1979-1980. This figure did not differ significantly from the prevalence in 1984-1985 (53%). Among the 28 fallers reporting symptoms in 1979-1980, seven reported no symptoms in 1984-1985, while four indicated improvement in the severity of symptoms resulting in a decreased stage assessment. Evidence for actual recovery was weak because of discrepancies in the symptom reporting. Reported recovery and improvement in the group with symptoms in 1979-1980 was counterbalanced by a significant 30% onset of new symptoms among fallers who were asymptomatic in 1979-1980. Six of the eight fallers reporting new symptoms were exposed only to antivibration saws, a finding suggesting that the type of saws used in the present investigation is not preventing the onset of new disease. Weighted 4-h equivalent acceleration levels from the handlebars of saws commonly used by the cohort group in 1984 ranged from 4.0 to 12.4 m/s2.