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H.A.V.S - Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Hand Arm Vibration, often abbreviated to HAV, are vibrations that are produced and transmitted from certain working processes through the equipment into the operators hands and arms.

If you or your workforce suffer enough exposure to these vibrations for prolonged periods of time during the day or over a protracted period (such as weeks, months or even years) life changing injuries could be caused. As a collective these are called ‘Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome’ or ‘HAVS’. 

To safeguard yourself or your workforce make sure everybody is on the lookout for the basic symptoms which could indicate HAVS. Symptoms are:

  • Tingling (medically known as 'paraesthesia' or commonly known as ‘pins & needles’)
  • Numbness in the arms and hands - particularly in your finger tips and around your knuckles
  • Struggling to use your hands to pick up or hold items such as buttons or coins etc

m/s2

Look out for this measurement as this is the rate at which vibrations are measured. It will help you calculate how long you can safely use your equipment.

Without treatment or periods of rest away from the vibration source your condition could become worse. Here are a few dangerous symptoms:

  • The loss of feeling to both your hands to temperature AND not being able to feel items that you touch
  • Not being able to grip objects

The most common diagnosis from this is Raynaud’s phenomenon, more commonly known as Vibration White Finger (VWF).  This disorder disrupts blood flow and circulation which causes your skins appearance to lose its colour. Raynaud’s phenomenon is most prominent when you are exposed to cold air (hence why the condition is at its worst during the winter period). The colour and feeling will eventually return to your hand, however this will be joined by a very intense throbbing pain as the blood is forced back into the area. In some instances suffers of VWF have suffered permanent numbness in their lower arms and hands, particularly their fingers.

Within the UK HSE estimates that over 750,000 people suffer from HAVS or a similar related condition with a staggering four and a half million workers potentially at risk.

HAVS and its surrounding conditions can be life altering. We advise you take extreme care and caution when using tools that produce high amounts of vibrations. Wear the correct protective clothing and equipment to help minimise the impact of such intrusive forces. If you are unsure about anything please don’t hesitate to contact us using our new live chat system available throughout the website or contact us via our contact page which contains all of our details and one of the Hire Station team members will assist and guide you.

Low Vibration Rate
Medium Vibration Rate
High Vibration Rate
Low Vibration Rate
Medium Vibration Rate
High Vibration Rate

When working with Hand Arm Vibration there are 2 main things to consider with regards to your exposure rating:

  1. What is the m/s2 rating of your tool? (on Hire Station’s website these numbers are always located as a symbol underneath the main body of text and in the ‘Technical Specs’ towards the bottom of the page)
  2. How long will you be using the tool for?

From here it is simple enough to calculate how long you can safely use the equipment for. For example if we take our 320mm petrol vibrating plate (product code: 050005).

This has a m/s2 rating of 2.42. Using the graph above follow the Y axis vertically until you reach 2.42 (round up to 2.5 just to make sure). Then follow the X axis horizontally until reach the amber colour. Where these 2 points meet will dictate how long you can use the equipment for, in this case 7 hours without any harm and a further 1 hour in an 8 hour working day with some risk of HAV injury.

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HAVS calculation graph

Below you find downloadable content such as our HAE Safety Guides relating to HAVS producing items. All content is viewable online or printable to help keep you safe no matter the situation.

PDF Logo

HAE Safety Guide for HAVS products

The Key Messages to remember when working in an environment with HAV are that:

  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome IS preventable but once the damage has occurred, unfortunately IT WILL be permanent
  • With over 2 million suffers int he UK alone HAVS is a serious and highly disabling condition
  • Symptoms from HAVS include the inability to do fine work as well as painful blanching attacks in the fingers triggers by cold weather
  • The cost to both the employer and employee could be high due to the inaction of the sufferer
  • There ARE simple and highly cost effective ways of removing and limiting the risk of HAVS onsite
  • The most effective way of controlling a persons exposure to HAV is to invest into new or alternative working methods that eliminate or drastically reduce the exposure rating

Below we have 2 separate videos produced for Makita demonstration their new and advanced AVT (Anti Vibration Technology) system. Watching the two videos you can quite clearly see the difference between having the AVT system v having no anti vibration reduction. The vibrations are heavily reduced with this new technology and this helps make the equipment not only much more ergonomic but also safer to use as the your vibration threshold isn't reached as quickly or violently.

The share violence of which the coloured liquids are vibrated with the system deactivated is a very simple and effective demonstration on how HAV injuries occur. The vibrations seen in the coloured liquid are also felt in your fingers, hands, forearms and do not begin to lose energy well up into the shoulders.

Here at Hire Station we pride ourselves on our customers safety and so by working closely with Makita we have made sure that every piece of Makita equipment that can be fitted with the new AVT system IS fitted with the new AVT system because no matter what, you can't put a price on safety and with Hire Station, safety always comes first.

Here we have a Makita demonstrating in detail how the new AVT system works using quality infographics and Makita's new HM1812 breaker.

Stocked within all of our branches throughout the UK these new machines are the latest generation of injury prevention, preemptive protection against hand arm vibration related injuries.

As the main piston is rotated up and down creating the 'hammer' effect of the breaker, counter weights move in the opposite direction, dissipating some of the pistons energy. With the striker operating 20% more effectively than the previous model, the AVT system doesn't remove anything away from the tools efficiency.

Additionally the entire handle assembled is separated from the machines head where the motor and transmission is located. This is known as the 'Vibration Absorbing Housing'. Within the housing of four damper springs, two located at the front and two at the rear with absorb further vibration created by the machine.

In 'No-Load' conditions the motor speed is kept to a minimum, helping bring the vibration down again.

All of these elements come together to form the basis of not only a quality piece of equipment but also a safe piece equipment as now our new range of tools with AVT system can be used not only for longer but are also more effective in there productivity.

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