What is it?
HAVS is short for hand-arm vibration syndrome which is an issue that’s mainly caused when there’s exposure to vibration in the workplace. HAVS can occur in as little as 6 months if there’s been a transfer of vibrations through workers hands or arms repeatedly.
Workers affected by HAVS often have whitened fingers when exposed to the cold or get a tingling and loss of sensation in their fingers. A symptom it can also cause is pain and cold sensations between periodic white finger attacks. Bone cysts in fingers and wrists and loss of grip sense is also common in people suffering from HAVS.
Why is it important to have regular checks?
Due to the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, technical and organisational measures should be introduced to reduce exposure if it’s at a value of 2.5 m/s2 A (8)
Employers are required to control vibration exposure in the workplace and if they do not ensure safe standards for their workers, then they could be open to possible legal action.
Employers must provide health surveillance for employees if risk assessments have shown that there’s risk to health.
Because of RIDDOR, which is the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, HAVS is seen as a reportable disease and employers are required to report when their workers start suffering from it.
RIDDOR reports are required when the injuries or accidents are work related so therefore you must report HAVS as it’s an occupational disease caused by working with vibrating equipment.
What sort of work causes it?
Any jobs where employees must work with vibrating machinery can cause Hand-Arm Vibration System. Here are some examples:
- Building/construction work
- Foundry work
- Heavy engineering
- Public services/maintenance
- Gas, water, electric work
Equipment that can cause HAVS
The most common tools that can expose you to vibration include:
- Hammer drills
- Handheld portable grinders
- Floor polishers
- Pedestal grinders
- Power hammers
- Power lawnmowers
- Bush cutters
How to reduce risks to vibration
The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations makes it so employers must prevent or reduce risks of exposure to vibration by carrying out regular risk assessments. If you’re needing an assessment done, we can help as we provide regular monitoring and checks here at Healthscreen so get in contact (details at bottom).
If vibration exposure action levels are too high, as an employer you’d have the duty to introduce a programme of controls to reduce exposure and limit risk.