Prevalence of Raynaud's phenomenon in different groups of workers operating hand-held vibrating tools

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1994;66(1):13-22. doi: 10.1007/BF00386574.


In eight groups of subjects operating various hand-held vibrating tools and aged from 30 to 59 years, the prevalence rates of vibration-induced white finger (VWF) and numbness, pain, or stiffness in the upper and lower extremities were investigated. Hand-transmitted vibration levels (HTVLs) were measured on the back of the hand, by means of unidirectional (x-axis) vibration dosimeters, and the frequency-weighted acceleration levels [(Lh,w)eq,t] were determined as the vibration levels. The prevalence rates of VWF and numbness of the hands in these subjects were compared to the prevalence rates of Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) and numbness of the hands in 1027 males and 1301 females not occupationally exposed to vibration (age range: 30-59 years). It was observed that in subjects exposed to HTVLs of between 1.1 and 2.5 m/s2, the prevalence of VWF was between 0.0% and 4.8%. The prevalence of VWF reached 9.6% in a group of workers exposed to HTVLs of 2.7-5.1 m/s2. The latter group showed a significant difference (P < 0.05) in the prevalence of VWF compared to the 2.7% prevalence of RP in male subjects of the general population. The prevalence of VWF in female subjects exposed to vibration (4.3%) was not significantly different from the prevalence of RP in females of the general population (3.4%). The prevalence rates of numbness of the hands were in the range of 6.5%-30.4% in the exposed groups and in the range of 13.4%-29.5% in the general population. Among the subjective symptoms, only VWF showed a significant positive correlation with HTVLs (R2 = 0.5, P < 0.05). It was concluded that in decisions concerning quantitative recommendations for vibration exposure, the prevalence of VWF should be employed. With a view to decreasing the risk of developing VWF, estimated vibration safety values for 4 h and 2 h daily exposures are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Raynaud Disease / epidemiology*
  • Raynaud Disease / etiology
  • Vibration / adverse effects*