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    HAND ARM VIBRATION AND NOISE HEALTH SURVEILLANCE

    Construction and other high risk sectors failing to monitor HAVS / Noise damage

    HSE has published a report on the uptake and quality of health survelliance (HS) for the hazards of noise and HAV. The study was undertaken during 2009-2010 and centred on high risk sectors including construction. A total of 632 companies were involved.

    HS is the systematic supervision of workers looking for early signs of work-related ill health in employees exposed to certain hazards. HS for hand-arm vibration(HAV) is largely based on the collecting of appropriate symptoms in individual workers, while quantitative pure-tone audiometry is a large element of HS for noise.

    Key messages 

    The report entitledRR948 – Uptake and quality of health surveillance for hand-arm vibration and noise exposure – A telephone based survey among duty holders found:

    “The following key results were obtained:

    • The mean uptake of health surveillance was 18% for HAV and 25% for noise in companies where it is likely that health surveillance should be in place.
    • The survey covered companies from micro to large size and the uptake of health surveillance for both noise and HAV was found to be dependent on the size of the firm surveyed. Smaller companies were far less likely to have health surveillance in place.

    Within those firms surveyed that had health surveillance in place:

    • A substantial majority (80-90%) of firms undertook health surveillance at, or even more frequently, than suggested in current guidance for HAV and noise
    • There still remains room for improvement in the implementation of health surveillance. For example, only half of the HAV firms and considerably less for noise firms had undertaken some form of proactive checking of the competence of those undertaking their health surveillance.”

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