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Hand and Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

It has been estimated that over 5 million people may be exposed to HAVS in the UK

Hand Arm Vibration is transmitted from a work activity into someone’s hands and arms. This occurs when:

Regular and frequent exposure to hand arm vibration can lead to permanent ill health. This is most likely if contact with a vibrating tool or work piece is a regular part of someone’s job. Occasional or low level exposure is unlikely to cause ill health.

Occupational Health Assessments

Hand arm vibration can cause a range of conditions called ‘hand arm vibration (HAVS)’. The best known is vibration white finger (VWF), but vibration also links to specific diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome. For some people symptoms appear after only a few months of exposure but for others it may take years. The symptoms are likely to get worse with repeated exposure and can lead to permanent damage and disfigurement; they can severely limit the jobs that someone is able to do as well as affect family and social activities.

Responsibilities for Employers – Where a works process is likely to pose a high risk of injury or illness consideration should be given to the possibility of discontinuing or replacing the process altogether, a thorough HAVS Risk Assessment will aid this process and help you decide how to protect the health of employees exposed to vibration.

Where it is impossible to eliminate the use of vibrating equipment a health surveillance programme should be in place. It is important to give appropriate information to employees and encourage their full co-operation. Occupational health professionals (nurses and doctors) who are providing clinical assessment and overseeing the health surveillance programme will be able to assist employers to explain the serious nature of the disease and the aims of health surveillance.

To discuss your specific needs in this area or to request quotation for Occupational Health provision on a regular basis, please do not hesitate to give us a ring or click here to enquire and we will be happy to assist. Back


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