Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

As we start getting back into our daily work routines, the colder weather may bring dismay to anyone who struggles with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), but what is HAVS and what can you do to help yourself and your colleagues who may be at risk?

What is HAVS?

It's a disorder resulting from prolonged exposure to vibration, specifically to the hands and forearms while using vibrating tools, including hand-held or hand guided power tools and machines.

HAVS can be a significant health risk where powered hand tools are used for significant lengths of time - this is especially so in foundries, construction and heavy fabrication.

Symptoms 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
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Here are some top tips to help prevent HAVS in your workplace

  • Make sure that equipment selected or allocated for tasks is suitable and can do the work efficiently. Tasks that use unsuitable equipment  e.g. too small or not powerful enough, is likely to take longer to complete and therefore expose employees to vibration for longer than necessary.
  • Where tools require continual or frequent use, introduce employee rotas to limit exposure times
  • Provide your employees with protective clothing when necessary to keep them warm and dry. This will encourage good blood circulation which should help protect them from developing vibration white finger
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Ben Massey

Business Development - Occupational Health & Hygiene +44 (0) 1235 437 100 EMAIL
View profile »
Milton Keynes | UK
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Tracey Bailey

Business Development Manager - Occupational Hygiene +44 1235 437 100 EMAIL
Milton Keynes | UK
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Matt Bates

Technical Director - Occupational Hygiene +44 (0) 1235 437 100 EMAIL
Milton Keynes | UK

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