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Pneumatic Hand Tools and Hand-Arm Vibration (HAVS) Problems

Here at Worlifts we’re committed to the health and safety cause. It’s an essential part of every organisation’s procedures to include advice and help for people operating machinery. Some safety precautions are obvious, such as helmets and safety harnesses, but there are many other areas that need to be considered.

For example, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) can be caused by the use of hand-held power tools, especially if used for long periods. The thing is, if not handled correctly, you can risk damage to blood vessels, joints, wrists and arms, and it’s permanent. It’s also easily avoided.

How to tell if you’re at risk

So many standard hand-held tools can cause this kind of damage, regardless of the type of industry you’re in. For example, concrete breakers and, in fact, any hammer action tools can bring on HAVS if used for as little as 15 minutes per day.

Also, rotary tools where the vibration is perhaps not as violent can still cause damage if used more than an hour a day.

Any hand-held hydraulic tools that produce vibration can also bring on pain and discomfort, so it’s essential to take precautions.

What are the symptoms of HAVS?

  • Can’t feel things with your fingers
  • Numbness or constant pins and needles
  • Loss of strength in your hands
  • White finger

If you notice them quickly enough, you can stop the damage becoming permanent, however if you continue without taking precautions, you may find that numbness becomes permanent, and you struggle to pick up small objects.

How to protect yourself

You employer is responsible for ensuring safety and protection against HAVS, but you should always inform them if you sense there are issues. You should also highlight ways things can be done without vibrating tools where possible.

However, these tools were created for a reason, and so in some cases it’s inevitable that they will have to be used. So, here’s how you can minimize the risk.

  • Use the right tool for the job, don’t be tempted to use a tool that wasn’t designed specifically for the task at hand. The quicker you can get the job done, the better
  • Ensure tools are maintained and serviced regularly to keep vibration at a minimum
  • Reduce the amount of time you use a tool, both in one go and during the day
  • Keep warm to encourage good blood circulation
  • Keep healthy, for example smoking reduces blood flow, so quit (and there are other benefits, too)
  • Recognise the early symptoms of HAVS, and if you notice them, stop and inform your employer

HAVS Tool Testing

Worlifts specialise in on-site hand arm vibration testing of electric-powered hand tools, electrical tool examinations and ON-Site hand arm vibration testing of pneumatically powered hand tools together with pneumatic tool examinations.

This service is key to many customers throughout the UK, our fleet of mobile on-site electric tool testing and pneumatic tool testing vehicles are fully equipped with the latest hand-arm vibration 3 axis testing machines, HAVS testing machines and related software.

Read more here or call us now on 0121 460 1113