Occupational hand-arm vibration syndrome in Korea

Cheolin Yoo, Ji Ho Lee, Choong Ryeol Lee, Yangho Kim, Hun Lee, Younghee Choi, Young Wook Kim, Chang Ho Chae, Hyokyoung Kim, Sang Baek Koh, Euna Kim, Lu Jin Lee, Kiyoung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: It is suspected that there is a large number of patients suffering from hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) in Korea. However, no cases have been reported since 1992. This study was conducted to identify HAVS cases and determine the characteristics of the syndrome. Methods: In April 2001, the Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeong-Nam Province Occupational Disease Surveillance System (BUGODSS) was established to identify work-related HAVS and other occupational diseases. In the 2 years of this project, occupational physicians from five hospitals in these provinces collected information by way of interviews and questionnaires during mandatory occupational medical examinations. Among the initial 189 suspected HAVS cases, 58 volunteers were given cold-water provocation tests in order to diagnose the vascular component of the disorder. Results: One hundred fifty-four approximately occupational HAVS cases were identified from ca. 21,000 workers. One hundred fifty about of these cases were male. The cases were most often found in workers from the shipbuilding industry, and the grinder was the most common source of vibration exposure. Cases of sensorineural disorder (SD) were more common than cases of vascular disorder (VD). The mean values of the finger skin temperature and its recovery rate at 5 min and 10 min after cold-water provocation were significantly lower in the group with the VD than in the group with the SD. Conclusions: We identified 154 occupational HAVS cases, although no cases have been reported during the occupational medical examinations mandated by the state. The majority of the cases were in workers that used grinders in the shipbuilding industry. We determined that peripheral VD and peripheral SD can progress independently of each other. We conclude that exposure to hand-transmitted vibration (HTV) and HAVS cases are common in shipbuilding industry in Korea. The recovery rate of finger skin temperature after cold-water provocation is one of the useful methods for diagnosing the vascular component of HAVS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment Funding for this study was provided by the 2002 Research Fund of the University of Ulsan and the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, funded by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cooperative Agreement #U07/CCU9061202.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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