The Building Safety Group has reported a 42% rise in the number of Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) non-compliances.
Exposing workers to the risks of ‘Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome’ (HAVS) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can result in symptoms such as such as, numbness and pain in the affected persons’ hands, pins and needles and tingling.
HAVS can disturb sleep when it occurs at night and cause problems in gripping & holding things. In 2015 there were 635 new HAVS related claims compared to 610 in 2014 and 580 in 2013 respectively (Read more here: BSG).
Also, in a recent case a pipe manufacturing company based in Newport was fined a total of £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,724 after pleading guilty to offences under Regulations 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.ailings
Failings included, no suitable and sufficient risk assessment, inadequate health surveillance and failure to provide proper training or technical controls to reduce vibration risk
Callidus Health & safety’s Daren Lawson looks at what employers must do to reduce the number of ‘Hand Arm Vibration’ non-compliances.
Hand Arm Vibration Risks (HAVS)
Workers who frequently use machinery or tools, such as powered machines and hand-held power tools must be assessed by employers for hand arm vibration risks.
When workers use this equipment it transmits vibration into the arms, wrists and hands of the workers potentially causing hand-arm syndrome (known as HAVS).
The HSE states that the vibration regulations require all employers to:
- Ensure that risks from vibration are controlled and assessed
- The employer must provide information, instruction and training to employees on the risk and the actions being taken to control risk; and provide suitable health surveillance.
The Vibration Regulations include an exposure action value (EAV) and an exposure limit value (ELV) based on a mixture of the vibration at the grip point(s) on the equipment or work-piece and the time spent gripping it (commonly known as trigger time).
The exposure values are:
- Exposure Action Value (EAV) – a daily exposure action value of 2.5 m/s2 A(8) that represents a clear risk needing management; and
- Exposure Limited Value (ELV) – a daily exposure limit value of 5 m/s 2 A(8) that represents a high risk above which employees should not be exposed to.
To help prevent disability, the employer’s duties are to either remove the risks or reduce the risks from vibration and exposure to as low as is reasonably practicable if it is above the EAV. It’s imperative that exposures don’t exceed the ELV.
If employers comply with the Vibration Regulations disability from HAVS and vibration-related Carpel Tunnel Syndromewill be prevented.
Employers should take appropriate action by implementing a surveillance scheme to help identify any harm early on. All cases of vibration-related CTS and certain cases of HAVS must be reported to HSE in accordance with RIDDOR (reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations).
What Should You Do?
- Employ a robust selection and purchasing policy on vibrating tools and maintain a register of all vibrating equipment and rating information.
- Undertake a risk assessment for the use of vibrating equipment and certify satisfactory controls are executed
- Consider alternate work practices to eradicate the risk at source, where this is not practicable, the risk should be reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.
- Certify that you have appropriate measures in place for occupational health surveillance.
- Provide all operatives with suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training.
Should you need further assistance with the production of company procedures and safety systems of work relating to the management of hand arm vibration or wish to discuss hand arm vibration issues in greater detail, do not hesitate to call Callidus Health & Safety Ltd on 0113 385 2740