Review of evidence related to hand-arm vibration syndrome

It is not possible to set a ‘no effect’ level for vibration exposure, says the UK’s Health and Safety Executive in a new report.

In a report, available as a download, that provides a systematic literature review on the nature of the exposure-response relationship between hand-transmitted vibration and the elements of hand-arm vibration syndrome, ie the vascular, neurosensory and musculoskeletal components.

The review of the literature has not found any strong evidence of a precise quantitative relationship between exposure to vibration and health outcomes, either for vascular or neurosensory hand-arm vibration syndrome.

There is some evidence that suggests possible limited reversibility of vascular hand-arm vibration syndrome after cessation of exposure. However, the limited evidence concerning neurosensory hand-arm vibration syndrome does not indicate any reversibility of the condition.

This review indicates that there are a number of unknowns with regard to the exposure-response relationships for hand-arm vibration syndrome.

Despite on-going research in the area of hand-arm vibration syndrome, quantitative exposure-response relationships for hand-arm vibration syndrome remain elusive and ill-defined. It has still not been possible to establish if there is a no effect level for vibration exposure, other than the somewhat obvious zero exposure level.

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