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Thu January 20 2022

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HAVS breaches rise by a third

28 Feb 19 The Building Safety Group (BSG) has uncovered a 33% year-on-year rise in the number of hand-arm vibration breaches recorded on construction sites.

BSG conducted 42,000 independent site inspections in 2017 and 2018 and found that hand-arm vibration breaches have escalated significantly.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) comes from the excessive use of hand-held power tools causing painful and disabling disorders of the blood vessels, nerves and joints. Hundreds of construction workers are affected every year. Between 2008 and 2017 there were more than 7,000 new industrial injuries disablement benefit claimants for HAVS.

BSG managing director Paul Kimpton said: “Hand-arm vibration can be a significant health risk wherever powered hand tools are used for prolonged lengths of time. And unfortunately, once the damage is done it is permanent.

“However the good news is that HAVs is easily preventable. What construction companies need to do is find out what their workers’ exposure is likely to be as part of a vibration risk assessment. The HSE advises that the employer carries out a period of monitoring to understand how long workers use particular tools in a typical day or week. Once you know enough about the work to say what the exposure is likely to be and whether it is likely to exceed either the Exposure Action or Exposure Limit Value, focus can shift to investigating, as well as taking practical steps to reduce the exposure and the risks.”

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