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    HAND ARM VIBRATION SYNDROME (HAVS)

    Useful guidance for employees now updated

    HSE have updated their advice leaflet Hand-arm vibration: advice for employees. The essential action points for those at risk to consider can be summarised as:

    • Tool Choice – ask if  your job could be done without using vibrating tools or by using suitable low-vibration tools. Use the right tool for each job. Less time means less vibration exposure;
    • Check Tools – before using to make sure they are properly maintained and that cutting tools are kept sharp so that they remain efficient. Store tools to avoid very cold handles when next used;
    • Work Practices – reduce the amount of time you use a tool in one go and avoid gripping or forcing a tool more than you have to and;
    • Personal Actions – keep warm and dry e.g. use gloves, hat, waterproofs and heating pads.  Give up or cut down on smoking and massage/exercise your fingers during work breaks.

    Comment: Construction sector employers must make those using vibrating tools aware of these practical steps that can be taken. These actions should form part of a programme of HAVS risk management starting with an assessment of who is at risk, the control measures in place and what more could be done. There is a good deal of construction specific information available for employers on this subject.    

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