These are detailed technical notes describing what constitutes "best practice" for each topic.
Avoid the costs (time, training, instrumentation) and hassles associated with field HAV assessment by using our Virtual Assessment service based on our hand arm vibration database. Download and fill in our template tool register or email us your tool register for a rapid and very low-cost virtual assessment. Fill it in, email it to our office and we can then provide you with a low cost vibration risk assessment from our HAVBase HAV database that complies with the HSE guidance recommending the use of accurate published vibration data wherever possible to avoid wasting resources on measurement.
The data can also be combined with additional on-site field vibration measurements if required to reduce assessment costs by around 70-80% and the time (and hassle of getting all the plant together) involved by up to 95%.
The depressing evidence is that many HAV assessments are seriously flawed and that industry is storing up future problems despite the best of intentions. There is a minefield of opportunities for vibration risk management mistakes based on mis-information and myth. The most common areas for errors are:-
HAV mis-measurement – monitors measuring vibration to no standards whatsoever…
Misunderstanding HAV measurement and monitoring marketing material can put hands and safety policies at risk. Caveat emptor. Some claims made by some suppliers of the latest “HAV monitors”, “HAV dosimeters”, “vibration monitoring gloves” etc are disingenuous, misleading end-users as to the limitations inherent in these vibration monitors. None of these alternative HAV measurement techniques provide values that can be used for a reliable assessment of the vibration exposure of operators as required by BS EN ISO 5349-1 2001. Read the full details of why hand-arm vibration dosimeters, hand, glove or wrist-mounted transducer vibration measurement systems do not provide vibration values to the standard.
Manufacturers’ Hand-Arm Vibration Data – it’s data, but not necessarily assessment data
Manufacturers’ updated declared values (to BS EN ISO 8662; EN 60745; EN ISO 20643 - which they have to provide under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008) are often used as the basis for "traffic light" risk ranking by hire companies. However, whilst useful as an initial estimate, you cannot use these figures for accurate risk assessment unless you can show that they are representative of your real-use tool vibration. Be particularly careful where the operator dose may be close to action or limit values as there can be serious consequences. Quoting the HSE guidance – “…you will still need to check with the manufacturer that the vibration emission declared in the equipment’s handbook is representative of your normal use of the equipment.” Consider the commercial pressure on suppliers not to go out of their way to publicise the higher vibration values often associated with real field use.
HAVBase can be used to aid optimum tool selection as part of a "Buy/Hire Smooth" policy to minimise HAVS risk.
Hand-Arm Vibration Measurement Accuracy – don’t measure unless you have to…
Accurate HAV measurement is time-consuming and expensive – and often unnecessary. In fact, you may never need to measure vibration again by heeding the HSE guidance that recommends using accurate published field vibration data wherever possible (e.g. HAV-Base). Incorrect transducer mounting and other technical mistakes have led to inaccurate field vibration measurements that can under-estimate vibration risk by factors of x2 to x20. We do measure, often, but take great care to ensure the data is valid.
Repeated Monitoring – and also repeated monitoring
Save your time and money. Once you have good data for your tools and operations, you never have to repeat the process unless you change tools or your operating procedures. Many companies spend a fortune on unnecessary repeat measurements, costly monitoring systems and procedures when it would better be spent on new, low vibration tools and other measures that actually reduce the risk.
Hand-Arm Vibration PPE – an oxymoron
There is no generally effective PPE for HAV, despite claims by some AV glove suppliers. In fact, it is often likely that so called “AV” gloves may actually increase the risk due to their effect on ergonomics.
HAVS Risk Management - learn what constitutes best practice
Our IOSH certified hand-arm vibration competency course covers the state of the art. Versions are also available as in-house and online management briefings or bespoke, industry-specific HAVS workshops.
The following is a step-by-step check list of the components of any effective HAV risk management programme that should be included in any risk assessment report. Contact us for more on any of the element(s) for which you need more information.
The costs of managing Hand-Arm Vibration risks can be reduced very substantially by introducing an effective "likely condition based" maintenance programme. We have used field vibration values for thousands of tools to generate statistics showing maintenance affects vibration. Standard breakers or rivet guns, for example, show little difference between the vibration from “as new” tools and that from old, worn tools. In contrast, poorly maintained angle grinders or leaf blowers generate several times the vibration of well maintained units (see graphic of the statistical spread of vibration levels).
This information can be used to improve your tool maintenance programme by concentrating resources only on those tools that pose the greatest risk if they are not well maintained to reduce the risk of HAVS.
This is an important element of “best practice” in HAV risk management. The commonly used hire tool company HAV risk “traffic light” system is supposed to provide information to users about the relative risks from tools. Unfortunately, it can be dangerously misleading as it is based on manufacturers’ declared values that should not be used for risk assessment. Despite this fact, some hire company literature implies the data can be used for assessment. Relying on this data could leave employers open to claims as tools can be much higher risk than the colour coding suggests.
HAVBase aids selection of the best tools to buy or hire to minimise risk. It also provides you with the tools and information you need to implement “best practice” in risk management (statistics, combinations of tools, finger-on-trigger calculations, automatic risk recalculation to meet the regulations …) plus high quality, automated reporting and graphical representations of the data.