The use of hand-held vibrating tools and power tools is a reality that many construction workers live with daily. This type of tooling and equipment are necessary but it also poses a risk to the workers that use them, which makes control measures and health surveillance crucial to employee safety.
|Shaun from Principal Power Tools said “When vibration equipment is used regularly, exposure to these vibrations create the potential for Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).” That is why HAVS testing is of paramount importance for those in these fields.
What is HAVS (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome)?
HAVS is the term used to define the chronic and ongoing challenges created by using vibrating tools for long and unregulated stretches of time above the acceptable exposure limits. This trauma is caused by damage done to the blood vessels and the nerves in the hands of those using vibrating tools. Symptoms such as loss of strength in the hands, numbness and tingling in the fingers, loss of dexterity and in severe cases anddiscouloration of the skin (white and red) are common and painful.
Why is HAVS Testing Important?
According to changes to UK work regulations in 2005, it is the responsibility of the employer to mitigate the risks of HAVS throughout their workforce. This makes risk assessments and the need to control vibrations to acceptable levels a priority for all employers who work in industries that have high-HAVS risk activities.
Additionally, the health and effectiveness of their employees are a concern for all employers, making HAVS a serious challenge. There are many avenues through which employers are taking steps to ensure that employees have the right safety representatives and that vibration risk is reduced to a minimum.
HAVS testing is done from multiple points and should be as thorough as possible to ensure safety and adherence to the current HAVS regulations. What does that look like on the work site?
- Tools are tested regularly to see if they are within acceptable “vibration at work” limits.
- Vibration assessments are done on employees to determine their level of risk and any mitigation strategies necessary.
- New equipment purchased is designed with HAVSprotection in mind.
- Proper training and education about HAVS and its risks.
How Do You Choose a HAVS Testing Provider?
A HAVS testing provider will be a partner in the protection of your employees, taking their safety concerns and making them a priority to best protect everyone. With different HAVS testing providers to choose from, how do you choose the one that is right for you?
It is simple. The right HAVS testing provider:
- Makes it Easy
Your HAVS testing needs are only one of the many priorities on your plate and the right testing provider will make it easy for your employees and tools to be tested, going out of their way to make it easy for you to comply with HAVS regulations.
- Provides Solutions
Solutions, such as on-site testing and evaluations, are some examples of the type of solutions that the right testing provider will be able to develop with you to ensure all employees and tools are tested with the least amount of disruption to workflow.
- Adds Value Above and Beyond the Testing
Added value looks different in every situation but it can be as simple as the ability to fix tools that don’t meet the HAVS specifications on site.
- Tests Thoroughly
Tools and employees need different levels of testing, and some tools need more thorough examination than others. The right provider will ensure that all tests are done completely and accurately, with all the necessary documentation
You and Your Employees Deserve It
The right HAVS test provider will make the lives of your employees, and you, much easier by providing peace of mind and the necessary testing to protect them from vibration damage. Since HAVS is preventable, measures like this are critical to avoiding unnecessary pain and suffering.