An important health and safety issue facing many heavy-industry and construction workers is the risk of vibration injury from certain handheld tools that leads to a condition called hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
Wrightway Health provides HAV’s testing as part of our comprehensive Health Surveillance programme.
The Control of Vibrations at work regulations 2005 define a daily exposure action value and a daily exposure limit value for hand transmitted vibration (HTV). Health surveillance must take place when:
- Employees are regularly exposed to HTV above the action value of 2.5 minutes over a standard 8 hour day.
- If an employee is occasionally exposed to HTV above the action value and the risk assessment identifies that this exposure may pose a risk to health
- If an employee has a previous diagnosis of HAVS.
The tools most likely to create risk include chainsaws, grinders, jack-hammers, floor polishers and impact drills. The occupations that involve regular and frequent exposure to vibration include but are not limited to:
- Automotive industry
- Ship building and repair
HAVS is often a painful medical condition that can impact on the everyday lives of those affected by it. HAVS symptoms include:
- Numbness and tingling in the fingers
- Reduced sense of touch and temperature
- Blanching of the fingers, sometimes known as vibration white finger
The objective of health surveillance for HAVS is to safeguard the health of employees and ensure the effectiveness of a company’s existing control measures.
You may also find the following HSE Employers’ Q&A helpful as guidance.