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RR969 - Evaluation of proficiency in health surveillance for hand-arm vibration post Faculty of Occupational Medicine accredited training courses

Health surveillance has long been employed where the risk from hand-arm vibration is significant and is considered a critical part of controlling the risks of the long-term, irreversible health effect Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Concerns about the quality of HAVS health surveillance provision and implementation exist.

Together with the establishment of new regulations (Control of Vibration at Work, 2005) and associated guidance (L140) that re-emphasised the importance of health surveillance, training courses with certification from the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) were introduced. While the responsibilities of doctors and nurses are different, especially in the aspect of doctors’ sole responsibility to diagnose and stage HAVS, the courses offer the same syllabus to all attendees. Three main centres established courses to provide this training covering an agreed syllabus: the Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton; the Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in Birmingham; and the University of Glasgow. Courses commenced in 2005. No formal assessment of the efficacy of this training activity had been considered until the course had been running for some considerable time.

This study aimed to investigate the level of proficiency in HAVS diagnosis and management of affected workers in a cohort of occupational doctors and nurses who had attended FOM training courses.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2013-03-25