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    RESEARCH EXPOSES LACK OF CERTAINTY ON HAVS

    HSE report fails to identify precise exposure-outcome relationship

    Research Report RR1060 entitled: A critical review of evidence related to hand-arm vibration syndrome and the extent of exposure to vibration (2015) has been prepared by the Health and Safety Laboratory for the Health and Safety Executive.

    The report describes a systematic literature review on the nature of the exposure-response relationship between hand-transmitted vibration and the elements of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), i.e. the vascular, neurosensory and musculoskeletal components.

    The report and the work it describes were funded by HSE and the contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy. The key messages in the report are reproduced in full below.

    Key messages
    1. Annex C of ISO 5349-1:2001 contains an exposure-response relationship for vascular HAVS. However, this 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 HAVS;
    2. Evidence suggests possible limited reversibility of vascular HAVS after cessation of exposure;
    3. The limited evidence concerning reversibility of neurosensory HAVS does not indicate any reversibility of the condition;
    4. There does not appear to be a significant body of appropriate research currently underway that would further our understanding of the quantitative relationship for either vascular or neurosensory HAVS;
    5. No new evidence has been found to corroborate or refute the limited existing evidence for a no effect level for vibration exposure, other than the somewhat obvious zero exposure level; and
    6. There are still a number of unknowns with regard to the exposure-response relationship for HAVS. These include: (a) how best to quantify exposure (b) the inter-relationship between cumulative exposure, current exposure and periods of non-exposure in the development of the symptoms of HAVS and (c) the relative importance of different vibration characteristics, such as frequency or impulsiveness, in relation to the different health outcomes.

     

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