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Health and safety training and prevention of hand-arm vibration syndrome through education

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Exposure to hand operated vibrating tools in the construction industry places workers at risk for developing hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), which is a common occupational disease.

OBJECTIVE:

To outline health and safety training obtained by construction workers and to assess which factors influence anti-vibration (AV) glove utilization following an educational intervention provided during a clinical assessment for HAVS at an occupational health clinic.

METHODS:

One hundred participating workers from the construction industry referred for a HAVS assessment at a hospital-based ambulatory occupational health clinic in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A baseline and two-month follow-up questionnaire were completed.

RESULTS:

Almost all of the participants indicated that they had completed health and safety training within their workplace. However, few received training specific regarding HAVS or AV gloves. Participants' AV glove use improved from 4.3% at baseline to 53.3% at follow-up two months later. Key predictors of participants wearing AV gloves was sharing the educational intervention information with their supervisors and working in a workplace with 20 or more employees.

CONCLUSIONS:

Training specific to HAVS and AV gloves is lacking in the construction industry. The educational intervention proved most effective in increasing AV glove use when the information was shared within the workplace.

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