Hand & Arm Vibration Assessments
Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) causes symptoms in fingers, hands and arms, as a result of using vibrating tools or equipment. It used to be called vibration white finger, but the name was changed to HAVS, as other symptoms may occur in addition to white fingers, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Raynaud's phenomenon.
Symptoms may result from prolonged exposure to vibration, specifically to the hands and forearms while using vibrating tools or equipment. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and loss of nerve sensitivity. The hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is painful and potentially a disabling condition of the fingers, hands, and arms due to vibration. There is initially a tingling sensation with numbness in the fingers. The fingers then become white and swollen when cold and then red and painful when warmed up again. Cold or wet weather may aggravate the condition. Everyday tasks will become increasingly more difficult such as tying shoelaces, fastening buttons, picking up objects such as pens and as the feeling in the fingers diminishes. This is also accompanied by a loss of strength and grip in the hands.
There are many industries and occupations, which could expose a person to vibratory equipment e.g. vehicle body repairers, engineering, manufacturing, construction and groundwork.
HAV exposure at work can arise from the use of powered handheld or guided equipment such as pneumatic drills, jackhammers, asphalt breakers, power chain saws, chipping tools, concrete vibrators and levellers, needle guns and scabblers, polishers, power jigsaws, sanders and angle grinders, riveters, compactors and powered lawnmowers. Away from work even electronic games in which the hand controls vibrate may give rise to HAVS.
Regular and frequent exposure to this vibration, usually over many months or years, can affect the operator’s health, however, the risks from vibration can be controlled and most employees can be protected from ill health caused by vibration.
To protect employees, and to comply with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, employers need to assess the risks from vibration and implement measures to control them.
Are any of your employees exposed to vibrating equipment whilst at work?
If they are do you know if any of them reach or exceed the prescribe exposure action value and are measures in place to prevent anyone exceeding the exposure limit value?
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