Thursday, 7 May 2015


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Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is a disorder which affects the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm which can become severely disabling if ignored. 

Its best known form is vibration white finger, which can be triggered by cold or wet weather and can cause severe pain in the affected fingers.Learn to recognise the signs of vibration injury and tell your GP about any symptoms.
Symptoms to look at for include:
  • Tingling and numbness in the fingers.
  • Pain, tingling or numbness in your hands, wrists and arms which may stop you sleeping.
  • Loss of strength in hands (you may be unable to pick up or hold heavy objects).
  • Inability to feel things with your fingers (you'll have difficulty picking up small objects such as screws or nails).    
  • Fingers go white, then blue, then red and are painful in the cold and wet, 
You are at risk if you regularly use hand-held powered tools such as concrete breakers, chipping hammers; sander, angle grinders; vibratory compactors; hammer drills, jigsaws, hedge trimmers, powered mowers, brush cutters and chainsaws.
It is your employer's responsibility to protect you against HAVS but symptoms will probably worsen if you continue to use high-vibration tools. 

In order to manage HAVs you could:
  • See if the task job could be done in a different way without using vibrating tools;
  • Use a low-vibration tool;
  • Always use the right tool for the job;
  • Check tools before using them to make sure they have been properly maintained and repaired to avoid vibration caused by faults and general wear;
  • Make sure cutting tools are kept sharp;
  • Reduce the amount of time you use the tool in one go
  • Avoid gripping or forcing the tools more than you have to;
  • Encourage good blood circulation by keeping warm and dry (wear gloves, hats, waterproofs)
  • Give up or cutting down on smoking as smoking reduces blood flow
  • Massage and exercise your fingers.

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