The objective of the present study was to analyse whether differences existed among workers exposed to hand-arm vibration (HAV) with regard to quality of life (QoL) issues. One hundred and eight male workers from a heavy manufacturing plant, with and without HAV symptoms, and workers referred to a hand surgery department with severe HAV symptoms participated in the study. The participants attended a clinical interview, were given a physical examination of the hands and administered the Göteborg Quality of Life instrument and the Evaluation of Daily Activity Questionnaire (EDAQ). Results indicated that workers referred to a hand surgery department with more severe HAV symptoms described a lower quality of life, defined here as lower subjective well-being, more symptoms of ill-health and difficulties with activities of daily living (ADL), than workers with no HAV symptoms. Workers from a heavy manufacturing plant with HAV symptoms experienced more difficulties with ADL, especially while working outdoors in cold weather, than workers with no HAV symptoms. Limitations of the present study include the use of a subjective scale to describe HAV symptoms. Further research is recommended on a larger sample of workers at risk for HAV symptoms to develop preventative ergonomic strategies.
Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.