Hand-arm vibration in Great Britain

Important Note

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the government’s response has impacted recent trends in health and safety statistics published by HSE and this should be considered when comparing across time periods. More details can be found in our reports on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on health and safety statistics.

This summary presents statistics based on annual new assessments for IIDB up to and including year 2021. Assessments of new IIDB cases in 2020 were affected by the coronavirus pandemic and may also have been affected to some extent during 2021.

300 New cases of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome in 2021

Source:IIDB

165 New cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in 2021

Source:IIDB

255 New cases of Dupuytren’s Contracture in 20211

Source:IIDB

Year Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
2010 1210 475
2011 840 425
2012 635 295
2013 580 265
2014 610 220
2015 635 260
2016 455 240
2017 270 145
2018 180 145
2019 205 135
2020* 80 40
2021* 300 165

Source: Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

Male / Female split of new cases for Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) from 2012 to 2021*

Gender Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome
Men 3940
Women 10

Male / Female split of new cases for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) from 2012 to 2021*

Gender Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Men 1850
Women 115

* Differences are likely to reflect smaller numbers of women having worked in jobs that meet the eligibility criteria for these conditions

Source: Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

More information on hand-arm vibration in Great Britain

Exposure to vibration at work through the use of hand-held, hand-fed or hand-guided power tools or machines can cause Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and Dupuytren’s Contracture. Dupuytren’s contracture was first prescibed for IIDB in 2020. There were 65 cases assessed for IIDB in 2020 and 255 in 2021.

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is made up of three components: vascular effects (also known as Vibration White Finger), sensorineural effects (numbness and tingling) and musculoskeletal effects (loss of grip strength, bone and joint disorders).

Our main source of information on the number of people developing these conditions is the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit scheme (IIDB). The numbers presented for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include cases caused by repetitive movement of the wrist as well as cases caused by vibration. It is not possible to separate out the vibration-related cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

There is limited information available on work-related hand-arm vibration. The IIDB scheme is HSE’s preferred data source, but annual incidence will tend to be underestimated for a number of reasons, including:

  • Cases arising from circumstances other than those covered by the terms of the prescription;
  • Individuals being unaware of the possible occupational origin of their disease;
  • A lack of knowledge regarding the availability of compensation; and
  • The scheme not including self-employed workers.

More information on the strengths and limitations of IIDB as a data source is available on the HSE statistics website.

More information:

Notes

  1. Dupuytren’s contracture of the hand was first prescribed for IIDB in 2020. Back to referenece of footnote 1
Updated 2022-12-05