Hand arm vibration happens over a prolonged period of exposure.
Working on site, it is an unspoken rule that you must do all you can to keep yourself and others safe, but what about the not so obvious risks? The ones that don’t show any immediate signs?
What is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?
When carrying out activities on site, you may be involved in using hand operated power tools that emit vibrations, sometimes you may be expected to hold down or steady a material that is being subjected to vibration from a piece of machinery.
It is these vibrations that can lead to potentially severe damage in your hands and arms if not monitored and managed properly.
Do you know the types of Hand Arm Vibration?
Whilst the name suggests that the damage is to hands and arms, it is also common for the HAV Syndrome to cause issues to fingers as well, with most hand arm vibration injuries falling into one of three categories.
Vascular HAV, also known as vibration white finger or Raynaud’s phenomenon, is caused by damage to the blood vessels in your hand and fingers. When these blood vessel restrict due to external factors, you are more likely to experience an episode where the colour drains from the extremities and your fingers become a yellow tinged pale colour.
Neurological HAV injuries can show a range of symptoms from tingling in the fingers through to carpal tunnel syndrome. Similar to the third type, Musculoskeletal HAV injuries, future grip strength and hand function can be lost and there is no known way to reverse it.
What on site activities can contribute to hand arm vibration syndrome?
Remember it is all to do with the length and types of exposure, using a hand held power tool on an infrequent basis is unlikely to cause future issues, but it is always worth thinking through what you do in a day so you can reduce the risk.
Work with heavy handheld equipment like concrete breakers, chipping hammers or needle guns? Sanding or grinding on a regular basis? Need to use that chainsaw a few times a week?
Those ‘few hours of work’ followed by the tingling pins and needles sensation in your hands soon begin to add up to something far more sinister.
Further resources and research into hand arm vibration.
Whilst we don’t specifically sell these large handheld power tools, we want to make sure that you are informed and can make educated assessments on the areas of your work that could put you at risk.
If you’re looking for more in depth information on hand arm vibration or the different symptoms and signs then check out the HSE website or speak to your Health & Safety Manager on site.
Make sure you stay safe and #GetEquipped.
Until next time,
The V-TUF family.