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Protecting Employees Against Hand Arm Vibration HAVS .pdf

Original filename: Protecting Employees Against Hand Arm Vibration HAVS.pdf
Author: Ross Edgar

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Protecting Employees Against Hand Arm Vibration (HAVS)
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a condition that affects an individual’s
blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints. Although the exact causes of Hand Arm
Vibration Syndrome are not known, what is known is that damage can be caused to
an individual’s hand, wrist and arm through excessive, prolonged exposure to tools
that vibrate. Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is known to affect tens of thousands of
workers currently and it is estimated that up to one in ten people who regularly work
with vibrating tools may develop the condition.
This condition is caused by tools that vibrate excessively. As a rough guide, any tool
that causes tingling or numbness after a mere 5-10 minutes of operation should be
considered suspect. The problem manifests itself when the blood supply to the hand
or fingers is temporarily halted, resulting in the skin turning white and losing
sensation. After a period of rest the blood supply will gradually return to the hand and
fingers but this is usually accompanied by a throbbing pain. Over time further
numbness or tingling may develop in the affected areas and in severe instances a
permanent numbness may occur. The end result is that the individual may find it
difficult to grip items, to carry out intricate tasks with the fingers and may experience
aches and pains in the arm, hand and fingers.

However, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is fully preventable if health and safety
measures are put in place. The likelihood of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome can be
dramatically reduced if the employer purchases tools with the lowest vibration
emissions available. Moreover, these tools should be inspected on a regular basis in
order to determine vibration levels. Further checks should be carried out on
employees in the form of regular vibration assessments to ensure minimal vibration
exposure. Regulation should also be enforced within the workplace to ensure that
the legal limits on vibration exposure are not exceeded. Employees should also be
adequately informed and trained on the health risks associated with vibration and the
preventative measures that can be taken. Finally, employees working outdoors
should be provided with warm clothing; however it should be noted that there is no
proven PPE for Hand Arm Vibration.

Businesses that operate equipment that produces vibration emissions may find it
beneficial to employ a third party to regulate Hand Arm Vibration prevention in the
workplace. Midland Air Tools Ltd offers just such a service. All of their technicians
are trained to Institute of Occupational Safety & Health standards to implement
testing, risk assessments and management. With years of knowledge and
experience in this field Midland Air Tools Ltd are best placed to assess the risk
posed by Hand Arm Vibration within a particular company. They can then report
back to the management of the business and make recommendations in order to
significantly reduce vibration emissions as much as possible. Such a service not only
provides a protection for employees but also provides a protection for the company
You can find out more about HAVS at the Midland Air Tools website here

Midland Air Tools Ltd
Unit 1
Apex Business Park
Walsall Road
Norton Canes
WS11 9PU
Tel: 01543 276119
Fax: 01543 276612
Email: sales@midlandairtools.co.uk
Website: www.midlandairtools.co.uk

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