Hand-arm vibration (HAV) is caused by the vibrations from handheld vibrating tools and machinery, resulting in damage to a person’s fingers, hands and/or arms. If a person is frequently exposed to these vibrations, it can lead to harm-arm vibration syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome, both of which have extremely debilitating symptoms. The good thing is that with the right controls in place, HAV disorders can be prevented, however, once the damage is done, the end result is permanent.
Early warning signs of hand-arm vibration include:
If these symptoms are spotted early enough, action can be taken to avoid permanent damage occurring. However, if the tools triggering HAV continue to be used, the damage is irreversible.
Developed symptoms include:
Under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, as an employer, you are required to assess, identify and control risks from vibration as far as reasonably possible. Under this law, employers are also required to provide information and training to employees on the risks, and the actions that will be taken to reduce this.
Some of the tools that put workers at an increased risk of HAVS include:
If your organisation operates within any of the above industries, or use any of the tools listed above, it is your legal obligation to manage and reduce these risks. Bringing in a health surveillance service provider is the most effective way to manage these hazards and ensure that you are protecting your employees from vibration-related risks.
During our visit, we may carry out HAVS assessments under the tier system which was introduced by The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations. This tiered system is split into four separate phases:
For those that show potential HAVS symptoms within tier 1 or 2 assessments, they will be referred for a more in-depth assessment with our health surveillance team.
There are ways to protect yourself and your employees against HAVS, which include adapting the way you work and the machinery you use at work. If the job cannot be done without using vibrating tools and machinery, you can:
We will work with you to ensure your employees are protected from vibration damage, and for those that show potential symptoms of HAVS – the right steps are put in place to stop permanent damage being caused. Avoid mitigation by partnering with health surveillance experts, protect your employees and your organisation. Get in touch if you have any questions about Harm-Arm Vibration or to discuss your requirements further.
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