Worldwide there are around 4.8 million people who are at risk of hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) or Whole-Body Vibration (WBV). In the UK an estimated two million people regularly use vibrating hand tools. HAVS is a serious, permanent condition, and alarmingly it’s on the rise with an increase of 12.5% on the previous decade.
At a glance
- 2 million workers are at risk of vibration exposure every day in the UK
- 300,000 workers currently suffering from advanced stages of HAVS or WBV
- 152,000 workers suffering from a new case of work-related musculoskeletal disorder in 2019/20
Whether your employees are using drills, saws, sanders, strimmers or impact hammers, when the damage is done, it’s permanent. At HAVSPRO we have one mission – to make HAVS history.
Every business in the UK has a legal and moral obligation to protect their employees from hand arm vibration syndrome so here are our top 6 ways to help prevent it:
1. Accurate vibration level monitoring – not measuring a range
HAVSPRO takes accurate real-time vibration measurements from each tool being used. This means businesses can quickly and confidently identify users who are at risk and tools and devices that are emitting high vibration levels. All of which means managing the risks of hand arm vibration syndrome is reduced right down and staff are protected.
2. Manage tool rotation and maintenance to ensure they are working at an optimal vibration level
There are many variables that can affect the vibration levels for a device or tool. How they are used, how old they are, how well they are maintained and how frequently they are rotated or used will all effect vibration levels.
By managing tool rotation and maintenance you can each tool or device is vibrating at an optimal level.
3. Rotate resources to equally distribute vibration exposure
Ensuring tools and users are rotating around will better spread the exposure risk of vibration levels. Whilst it isn’t always possible to do this, with accurate vibration monitoring in place, supervisors and managers can make strategic decisions about resource planning to better manage the risk.
4. Set specific Exposure Action Value (EAV) and Exposure Limit Value (ELV)
HAVSPRO measures accurate vibration levels and not a vibration range. This means that businesses can set acceptable vibration levels for Exposure Action Value (EAV) and Exposure Limit Value (ELV) for individual users and tools. If you set levels that are less than the HSE recommendations, you can protect even the most vulnerable members of staff with accurate monitoring.
5. Get hand arm vibration syndrome on the business agenda
Cultural change comes from the top down which means everyone from the C-suite down needs to have the prevention of hand arm vibration syndrome on their to-do list. One effective way of ensuring hand arm vibration syndrome stays at the forefront of everyone’s mind is with reports being regularly sent to users, supervisors, managers, and Directors.
6. Identify unusual or expected vibration levels
Being able to see usual or unexpected vibration levels as they occur means businesses can act before they become a problem or risk factor. There are a number of reasons you could be seeing high vibration levels that could all be resolved quickly if they are spotted early enough. Whether it is incorrect usage, worn peripherals or a faulty device, you will only be able to act if you have a vibration device that measures and reports accurate vibration levels and not a range.
These are our top ways to prevent hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) but remember, you have a legal requirement to control vibration level exposure.
The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) requires all businesses to control operator risks from WBV and protect against HAVS through taking the following steps:
- Assess the vibration risk to all employees
- Assess those who might be exposed above the EAV and introduce a programme of controls to eliminate or reduce their daily exposure
- Decide if they are likely to be exposed above the ELV and to take immediate action to reduce their exposure if they are
- Provide information and training on health risks and controls to employees at risk
- Keep a record of risk assessment and control actions
- Review and update the risk assessment regularly
If you have any questions about HAVS or how your business could be monitoring vibration levels accurately with HAVSPRO, please contact us on 01332 547 148 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can download our brochure below: