HAVS – Prepare and Prevent, don’t Repair and Repent!

  Posted January 30, 2019

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

A company based across the UK have been fined £500,000 for hundreds of their employees that have been diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, over a 9 year period!

Even though the employers had the knowledge of importance, they did not take on board any advice once having their Occupational Health Surveillance provided to their employees.

Read more about this here!

Industries most likely impacted

Many work places industries frequently use vibrating tools & equipment and handling of vibrating materials on a daily basis, some companies without knowing the consequences of this exposure. To name a few, some industries include:

  • Construction
  • Estate Management (eg maintenance of grounds, parks, water courses etc)
  • Forestry
  • Heavy Engineering
  • Mines and Quarries
  • Motor Vehicle Manufacture and Repair

Signs & Symptoms

Some symptoms are more obvious than others, these can include:

  • Tingling and numbness in the fingers;
  • Not being able to feel things properly;
  • Loss of strength in the hands;
  • Fingers going white (blanching) and becoming red and painful on recovery (particularly in the cold and wet, and probably only in the tips at first)

Effects of Symptoms

If symptoms are not caught early, or are left un-assessed, the possibility of developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome / White Finger increases. Some of the effects on employees are:

  • Pain, distress and sleep disturbance;
  • Inability to do fine work (eg assembling small components) or everyday tasks (eg fastening buttons);
  • Reduced ability to work in cold or damp conditions (ie most outdoor work) which would trigger painful finger blanching attacks;
  • Reduced grip strength, which might affect the ability to do work safely.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/advicetoemployers/index.htm 

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