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Staywell » Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) Health Surveillance

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) Health Surveillance


Do you need Hand Arm Vibration syndrome (HAVS) health surveillance?

An important health and safety issue facing many heavy-industry and construction workers is the risk of vibration injury from certain handheld tools that leads to a condition called hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

The Control of Vibrations at work regulations 2005 define a daily exposure action value and a daily exposure limit value for hand transmitted vibration (HTV). Health surveillance must take place when:

  • Employees are regularly exposed to HTV above the action value of 2.5 minutes over a standard 8 hour day.
  • If an employee is occasionally exposed to HTV above the action value and the risk assessment identifies that this exposure may pose a risk to health
  • If an employee has a previous diagnosis of HAVS.

The tools most likely to create risk include chainsaws, grinders, jack hammers, floor polishers and impact drills. The occupations that involve regular and frequent exposure to vibration include but are not limited to:

  • Construction
  • Forestry
  • Automotive industry
  • Ship building and repair
  • Foundries

HAVS is often a painful medical condition that can impact on the everyday lives of those affected by it. HAVS symptoms include:

  • Numbness and tingling in the fingers
  • Reduced sense of touch and temperature
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Blanching of the fingers, sometimes known as vibration white finger

The objective of health surveillance for HAVS is to safeguard the health of employees and ensure the effectiveness of a company’s existing control measures.

How can Staywell Occupational Health help you?

Our convenient nationwide testing programme is divided into 5 stages:

Tier 1: Pre-employment assessment

  • Completion of a self-assessment questionnaire before exposure begins.
  • The questionnaire is assessed by a suitably qualified Occupational Health Advisor who gives advice about measures that will help reduce the risk from transmission of vibration.
  • Those with possible symptoms are referred to a specialist OH Advisor (tier 3) or specialist physician (tier 4).

Tier 2: Annual screening

  • Completion of a self-assessment questionnaire
  • The questionnaire is assessed by a suitably qualified Occupational Health Advisor who gives advice about measures that will help reduce the risk from transmission of vibration
  • Those with possible symptoms are referred to a specialist OH Advisor (tier 3) or specialist physician (tier 4).
  • If an employee is found to be symptomatic they must be referred straight away

Tier 3: Clinical examination

  • Conducted by a specialist OH Advisor
  • Specific tests may include grip strength, Purdue pegboard and monofilaments
  • If any symptoms found are consistent with HAVS, the employee will then be referred on for a tier 4 assessment.

Tier 4: Formal diagnosis

  • Conducted by a specialist Doctor.
  • The doctor advises about the worker’s continued fitness for work and what restrictions may be required.
  • Formal diagnosis for reporting under RIDDOR

Tier 5: Standardised tests

  • Standardised testing is optional and can be conducted when it is requested by the Doctor to assist in making a formal diagnosis.

 

In many cases we can combine HAVS with hearing testing, lung function testing and skin surveillance. Should you wish to receive more information about this service, please fill in the contact form and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.



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