Hand arm Vibration syndrome (HAVS) is the term for symptoms caused by damages from vibration occurring in the fingers, hands as well as arms when working with vibrating machinery & tools. Excessive exposure of workers to hand arm vibration has been known to cause serious health problems such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and vascular disorders. In order to protect workers, limits are placed on the exposure to hand arm vibration and monitoring can assess whether these limits are breached.
Hand Arm Vibration Risk Assessment
Environmental Efficiency is able to measure exposed hand arm vibration as well as for the whole body. This is performed by placing special accelerometers on the worker and recording the vibration levels in three axis. Sometimes it will be more convenient to place the accelerometer on the tool being used in order to measure the vibration risk assessment.
Where vibration levels are excessive, there is an accepted hierarchy of measures to control the problem with PPE (such as vibration gloves) being the last in the hierarchy. The first action is to attempt to replace the process by an alternative process. Often a significant improvement can be obtained by replacing old or badly maintained tools. Failing that it may be necessary to limit workers time in using the equipment. Environmental Efficiency can help advise of the most appropriate measures to take according to the vibration risk assessment, in order to avoid the hand arm vibration issue.
Measurement of Excessive Vibration Levels
Power tool data sheets, based on ISO 28927, specify the vibration level of the tool based on standard laboratory tests. This data is only intended as guidance when comparing one brand or type of tool with another. It is not a guide to the actual vibration level experienced by a user in real life situations. Therefore the manufacturer’s published data cannot be used in place of vibration risk assessment. Monitoring of the tool in action is therefore essential to ensure exposure limits are not breached.
Environmental Efficiency is able to monitor hand arm vibration and for the whole body. We will also state whether regulations are being adhered too. Where vibration levels are too high, we can specify the maximum exposure time to ensure compliance. To date Environmental Efficiency has carried out hand, arm and whole body vibration for heavy vehicle workshops, transport drivers and assembly line workers.