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    HAVS RISK ASSESSMENT AND REDUCTION RESEARCH

    Institute of Occupational Medicine considers vibration monitoring system

    The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) was requested by Reactec to conduct an independent review of data collected using the HAVwear system.

    HAVwear collects two types of assessment data to be viewed online:

    1. Tools Exposure Points –  it uses a tools pre-defined vibration magnitude and length of time the tool is in use to calculate exposure points in accordance with The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and HSE guidance. Reactec name this type of exposure points as “Tool Exposure Points” (TEP).
    2. Sensed Exposure Points – it also determines the vibration transmitted to the tool wearer’s wrist and mathematically corrects for the energy loss between the wrist and the tool grip point. The HAVwear uses this determined  vibration magnitude and the length of time the tool is in use to calculate exposure points relating to real-time vibration exposure experienced by the wearer. Reactec name this type of exposure points as “Sensed Exposure Points” (SEP).

    The IOM Report was published in January 2018 with the purpose of demonstrating if HAVwear’s SEP data can be used: (1) to inform a suitable and sufficient risk assessment; and (2) in the development of risk reduction control measures for HAVS

    IOM report conclusions

    Reactec summarise the IOM conclusions as follows;

    • Data gathered by the HAVwear system provides a useful source of information to inform a suitable and sufficient risk assessment;
    • Whilst the HAVwear system measures vibration experienced by a user rather than “on the tool” in accordance with the requirements of BS EN ISO 5349-1: 2001, HAVwear can provide ranges of vibration magnitude comparable to those produced by conventional measurement techniques;
    • Data produced by the HAVwear system can inform a risk assessment that is realistic with respect to actual tool use. It is also of the view that, as the HAVwear system assesses vibration exposure during the entire use of the tool, it may therefore be more accurate than the use of trigger times and manufacturer’s data or other data sources compiled for a limited range of tool activity;
    • Data gathered by the HAVwear system on a regular basis can inform the development of risk reduction control measures and can be used to identify trends in risk reduction as part of a risk management program; and
    • The HAVwear system has advantages over conventional means of vibration magnitude measurements.

     

    Commenting on the study, Jacqui McLaughlin, Chief Executive said:

    “The result of this study is a game changer for the industry as our HAVwear system and the data it produces has been validated by the IOM as providing credible risk assessment while being practical for assessing risk on an everyday basis. These findings are significant as employers can confidently use HAVwear to determine real-time vibration exposure which will ultimately help them reduce the risk of their workforce being exposed to HAV and developing the incurable HAVS condition.

    “We designed and launched HAVwear two years ago to ease the assessment of HAV exposure and help employers reduce the risk faced by a workforce using vibrating tools. Employers are required to risk assess HAV exposure but doing so is made difficult by a need to establish the vibration magnitude of the tool in the process. The standards developed to measure tools exist but are intrusive and not practical to everyday use. This means that assessments are traditionally made with some sort of one-off, potentially inappropriate data. This is an exciting day for Reactec as we share the results of this study which tests the validity of HAVwear as a practical system to assess someone’s actual vibration exposure.”

    Shelia Groat, Head of Health and Safety Services at the IOM, said:

    “In the study commissioned by Reactec, IOM found that the data collected by the HAVwear system, during real use, is comparable to the range of vibration magnitudes achieved by conventional measurement devices. When gathered on a regular basis the HAVwear information can be used to identify risks to vibration exposure trends. As one of the most common industrial diseases in the UK, developing innovative measuring devices to assess occupational exposure is a significant move in the ongoing prevention of HAVS.”

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