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Relationship between occupational vibration and morbidity.
J Environ Pathol Toxicol 1979 May/Jun; 2(5):67-73
The relationship between vibration white finger (VWF) and morbidity is discussed. The severity of VWF has been assessed using two indices. The first is the interval between commencing vibration exposure and the appearance of the first white finger tip. This index is known as the latent period. The second is known as the prevalence index or the amount of white finger determined in a population. The prevalence of VWF rises with increasing vibration exposure time. This index depends on the length of employment or stability of the labor force. The latent period is shown to depend on the vibration energy entering the hand. This is a better guide to the severity or degree of hazard involved in industrial operations. Latent periods can vary from 5 to 6 years in the case of pneumatic tool chippers and grinders, 2 to 3 years for chain sawyers, 6 to 9 months for pedestal grinders, and 6 to 8 weeks for copper swaging workers. A clinical grading system has been developed that indicates the number and severity of white finger attacks. If the last stage is reached, the worker should ask for a transfer or leave the job. The blanching process seen in the digits indicates a closing of the digital arteries arising from the superficial and deep palmer arches. The fact that the fingers are white implies that the veins are constricted.
NIOSH-Author; Safety-monitoring; Occupational-hazards; Hazards; Physiological-effects; Epidemiology; Circulatory-system; Vibration-effects; Workplace-studies
Issue of Publication
Journal of Environmental Pathology and Toxicology. Toxicological and Carcinogenic Health Hazards in the Workplace: proceedings of the First Annual NIOSH Scientific Symposium, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 1978
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division