Hand-arm Vibration Testing
Safetymen provide on-site "Hand Arm Vibration" Testing. We use the lastest Hand Arm Vibration Testing equipment, our HealthVib HAV gloves manage vibration exposure simply and effectivley, they contain a traxial accelerometer located in the glove(s). Once the Vibration levels have been taken we will create graphical reports and present data with a selection of value options.
Our kits include active and passive units to measure one or both hands. Accurate real time vibration readings from hand held power tool are displayed as daily dose and current vibration exposure.
Many companies will perform at best a 'visual inspection or free running function test' on hand tooling. For vibration control measures a 'free running test, air test or laboratory test' in the majority of cases are unsatisfactory and in some cases vibration m/s2 levels are recorded 2 x higher than value shown in the catalogue when actually tested in service.
Testing to BS EN ISO 5349-2
On-site measuring under actual working conditions has proven to be very effective in producing precise and more realistic figures and test results than those obtained using manufacturers declared vibration values.
What should Employers be doing?
It is the employer's duty (or their Health & Safety representative) to be seen actively trying to combat and control all measures of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome in the workforce. This can be done in many ways, for example:
- Ensuring all hand held tools are checked on a regular basis for vibration levels.
- Ensuring all tools used are helped by adding vibration damping handles.
- All new or additional tools have the lowest vibration emissions.
- All employees have regular vibration assessments.
- Keep the employees working area warm with warm clothing for those who work outdoors.
- Make sure the legal limits on vibration exposure are not exceeded.
- Provide information and training to employees on health risks and the actions you are taking to control those risks
HSE inspectors will be addressing hand-arm vibration in three priority industry sectors. These sectors will include Foundries, Heavy Steel Fabrication including Ship Building and Construction. They will expect to see evidence of the elimination of vibration risks or of their reduction to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable. Where vibration risks remain, inspectors will be looking for evidence that the risks are being managed adequately and that suitable health surveillance is in place. This is where Safetymen's Hand Arm Vibration Service can be of use to you.
By law, as an employer, you must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to hand-arm vibration so that you can protect your employees from risks to their health.
Where the risks are low, the actions you take may be simple and inexpensive, but where the risks are high, you should manage them using a prioritised action plan to control exposure to hand-arm vibration.
Where required, ensure that:
- Control measures to reduce vibration are properly applied; and
- You provide information, training and health surveillance.
Review what you are doing if anything changes that may affect exposures to vibration where you work.
- HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent.
- HAVS is serious and disabling, and nearly 2 million people are at risk.
- Damage from HAVS can include the inability to do fine work and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks.
- The costs to employees and to employers of inaction could be high.
- There are simple and cost-effective ways to eliminate risk of HAVS.
- The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations focus on the elimination or control of vibration exposure.
- The long-term aim is to prevent new cases of HAVS occurring and enable workers to remain at work without disability.
- The most efficient and effective way of controlling exposure to hand-arm vibration is to look for new or alternative work methods which eliminate or reduce exposure to vibration.
- Health surveillance is vital to detect and respond to early signs of damage.
Do you have a hand-arm vibration problem at work?
This will depend on whether your employees regularly and frequently work with vibrating tools and equipment and/or handle vibrating materials. It will also depend on how long your employees are exposed to vibration and at what level. As a simple guide you will probably need to do something about vibration exposures if any of the following apply:
- Do your employees complain of tingling and numbness in their hands or fingers after using vibrating tools?
- Do your employees hold work pieces, which vibrate while being processed by powered machinery such as pedestal grinders?
- Do your employees regularly use hand-held or hand guided power tools and machines such as:
- Concrete breakers, concrete pokers;
- Sanders, grinders, disc cutters;
- Hammer drills;
- Chipping hammers;
- Chainsaws, brush cutters, hedge trimmers,
- Powered mowers;
- Scabblers or needle guns.
- Do your employees regularly operate:
- Hammer action tools for more than about 15 minutes per day; or
- Some rotary and other action tools for more than about one hour per day.
- Do you work in an industry where exposures to vibration are particularly high, such as construction, foundries, or heavy steel fabrication/shipyards?
Which jobs and industries are most likely to involve hand-arm vibration?
Jobs requiring regular and frequent use of vibrating tools and equipment and handling of vibrating materials are found in a wide range of industries, for example:
- Building and maintenance of roads and railways;
- Estate management (eg maintenance of grounds, parks, water courses, road and rail side verges);
- Heavy engineering;
- Manufacturing concrete products;
- Mines and quarries;
- Motor vehicle manufacture and repair;
- Public utilities (eg water, gas, electricity, telecommunications);
- Shipbuilding and repair.
What kinds of tools and equipment can cause ill health from vibration?
There are hundreds of different types of hand-held power tools and equipment which can cause ill health from vibration. Some of the more common ones are:
- Concrete breakers/road breakers;
- Cut-off saws (for stone etc);
- Hammer drills;
- Hand-held grinders;
- Impact wrenches;
- Needle scalers;
- Pedestal grinders;
- Power hammers and chisels;
- Powered lawn mowers;
- Powered sanders;
- Strimmers/brush cutters.
It’s the first prosecution HSE has taken where a worker has suffered injury from exposure to vibration. And, as is so often the case, it could and should have been avoided...
The company was fined £10,000 with £28,000 costs at Dartford Magistrate’s Court.
Don’t leave it to chance and face huge claims and / or fines against the company.
For further details, contact Safetymen on Tel: 01255 863125 / Fax: 01255 807569 / Email: Grant@safetymen.co.uk