HAVS stands for Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome. The condition develops from the use of hand-held power tools and is a significant health risk wherever powered hand tools are used for substantial lengths of time.
- HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent.
- But Symptoms can improve if detected in the early stages.
- We can carry out health surveillance for you and your employees.
- There are simple cost-effective ways to eliminate the risk of HAVS.
HAVS also results from holding materials that are being processed by machines causing vibration.
Dealing with heavily vibrating or powered machines for limited periods doesn’t pose a risk of HAVS.
Nonetheless, regular exposure to high levels of vibration leads to permanent injury.
Regular exposure to powered tools leads to permanent injury if not taken care of properly, especially when a person’s job involves dealing with powered tools and machinery every day.
“Around 2 million workers are at risk of developing HAVS, and 300 thousand people suffering advance stages of HAVS in the UK.”
In this blog post, we have discussed all HAVS.So, let’s jump over to the topic quickly.
Q: What Is HAVS?
In simple terms, HAVS stands for Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome.
HAVS develops from the use of hand-held powered tools, and HAVS poses a significant health risk.
The more you regularly use vibrating machines and powered tools, and the longer the duration of exposure, the higher the risk of developing HAVS.
“HAVS can be developed in as little time as six months, so take care of all the precautions from the early stage.”
Q: What Are The Symptoms Of HAVS?
How can you define if you are suffering from HAVS or not? The simple answer is to look for the symptoms of HAVS as listed below –
Look at the HAVS symptoms before it’s too late:
→ Tingling In Fingers –
The primary sign of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is tingling in the fingers and hands. In the initial stage, you might feel it more at night or after using vibrator equipment.
→ Numbness –
Another sign of HAVS Syndrome is numbness in the hands and fingers. Numbness may make you uncomfortable and cause sleep disturbance. Plus, numbness or tingling are likely to become more frequent as HAVS develops further.
→ Loss of Grip
One more sign of HAVS is a loss of grip and strength in your hands, which makes it tough to pick, hold, grip or lift heavy objects.
→ White Spots On Fingers
Using a vibrator for longer periods of time affects one or more fingers, resulting in white or pale fingers. On recovery, white fingers get red while causing pain.
“If you continue to deal with powered tools even after detecting HAVS symptoms;
It will get worse, and once it gets worse, it becomes the worst – there is no coming back.”
Q: What Are The Causes Of HAVS?
Some of the most common causes of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome are dealing with or operating vibrating equipment such as breakers, wacker plates, hammer drills, and lawnmowers.
Additionally, HAVS also results in holding materials that are being processed by machines causing vibration.
Here are some types of vibrating equipment that causes HAVS:-
→ Impact drills
→ Scaling hammers
→ Floor polishers
→ Powered hammers
Frequent and regular exposure to heavy vibration leads to permanent damage to the hands and arms’ nerve, muscles, and joints.
All these injuries are collectively referred to as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome(HAVS).
Q: Who Is At The Risk Of Developing HAVS?
Workers who are dealing with powered or heavy vibration machines every day are more at risk of developing HAVS.
So, if you are someone who is dealing with heavy machinery on a regular basis, you need to take care of yourself the most.
People working in the field of construction, engineering, and mining are the most at risk because of the nature of the work and frequent exposure to vibrating and powered tools.
HAVS mostly seen in the workers who are in the field of –
→ Construction and civil work,
→ Motor vehicle manufacture and repair,
→ Maintenance of parks, gardens, verges, grounds, etc.,
→ Shipbuilding and ship repair,
→ Utilities (eg gas, water, telecommunications).
Q: How Can One Prevent Form HAVS?
HAVS is irreparable damage to the nerves, muscles, and joints, so prevention of HAVS is the best and only option.
As soon as you develop the symptoms of HAVS, there is no way to reverse it.
In order to prevent HAVS, the UK government has set a legal requirement to adequately control and manage the risks presented by vibrating equipment in an organization.
Q: What Are The Ways To Prevent HAVS?
There are numbers of things one can put in place to minimize the risks of vibrating equipment.
Besides the little costs of the control, it also supports productivity and quality improvements.
HAVS control measures include –
→ Replacing the need for vibrating equipment –
Replacing alternative ways of working, which eliminates the needs for vibrating and powered equipment, is the best way to prevent HAVS.
For example, accessing precast concrete, which has channels formed for services, eliminates the need to create channels for service on-site through concrete slabs.
→ Selecting The Right Equipment –
Another way to control HAVS includes selecting the right and appropriate equipment for the job.
Equipment manufacturers do their best to improve their products’ vibration performance, so the latest tools and machines are likely to emit lower vibration than older equipment.
→ Rotating Tasks And Job –
As an employer, you can ensure that the time an individual member of your workforce spends on vibration equipment is minimized with the rotation process, resulting in the breaking up of continuous periods of using the equipment.
→ Job Design –
Avoiding poor posture greatly reduces the impact of exposure to vibrating tools and equipment.
Moreover, using jigs or mechanical aids to hold vibrating materials to reduce and prevent heavy exposure.
Additionally, PPE such as gloves supports in reducing the risk, especially during cold weather, by keeping hands and fingers warm when operating vibration equipment.
Maintaining the good working condition of vibrating tools and equipment reduces the levels of vibration exposure.
Using vibration mounts that are worn out or unbalanced rotating parts and blunt tools increase the vibrating output, and so does the risk of developing HAVS.
Regulating the vibration exposure limits is also another very important factor that prevents HAVS.
Q: So, What Are The Legal Vibration Exposure Limits?
EAV or Exposure action value is a standard to measure the daily amount of vibration exposure.
If the daily limit of vibration exposure is above 2.5 m/s² A(8), employers should take action to control exposure.
The maximum amount of vibration exposure is known as ELV or Exposure Limit Value. The ELV for hand-arm vibration is 5 m/s² A(8) in a day.
Q: Is HAVS a Part Of Risk Assessment?
If there are chances that workers may get harm through vibration in the workplace, then it should be written down as part of the havs risk assessment employers conduct.
Q: How Orbis Environmental And Safety Can Help Your Business?
Having a Health and Safety consultant with you to meet the standards of safety and health in an appropriate way is the best way to get through the process.
You can contact our professionals by visiting our Contact Us page, fill in the details, and we will contact you as soon as possible.
We are always more than happy to support all of our customers. We have the utmost integrity and trustworthy service. We cover a wide range of Health and Safety advice.
We can advise on ways to eliminate the risk of developing HAVS. We can provide health surveillance to detect and respond to early signs of damage.