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The Dangers Of Vibrating Tools

The following relates to anyone involved with any vibrator or vibrating tool for more than a few hours a day on a regular basis, light use of vibrators and vibrating tools is not considered a health risk. It is important to note that Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) caused by exposure to vibration at work is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent. The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 were introduced to better protect workers from vibration at work and came into force in July 2005. The risk is greater for vibrator tools such as: Concrete breakers, concrete pokers; Sanders, grinders, disc cutters; Hammer drills; Chipping hammers; Chainsaws, brush cutters, hedge trimmers, Powered mowers; Scabblers or needle guns; Although it is important to note that the above is not an exhaustive list. The most common first sign of affliction due to HAVS is a numbness or tingling in the fingers, this may be more apparent in the evenings when you try to sleep. Lack of sensitivity in the fingers and a general dull feeling or lack of strength in your hand (particularly while gripping objects) can be a sure sign of the onset of HASV.

Once these symptoms appear it is important that you stop the use of any vibrator and seek medical advice, failure to do this and continued use of vibrating tools can lead to complete lack of feeling in the hand not only in the finger tips (commonly called white finger syndrome). All fields of work are affected by this syndrome and it is vital that employers and employees quickly recognise this in order to stem the problem before it goes beyond treatment. Again, should you feel any of the above symptoms it is imperative you contact your local GP and discontinue the use of the vibrator. Below is a list of common jobs which are often affected by HAVS: Building and maintenance of roads and railways; Construction; Estate management (eg maintenance of grounds, parks, water courses, road and railside verges); Forestry; Foundries; Heavy engineering; Manufacturing concrete products; Mines and quarries; Motor vehicle manufacture and repair; Public utilities (eg water, gas, electricity, telecommunications); Shipbuilding and repair. In reaction to this problem, most manufacturers of vibrators have upgraded or completely redeveloped current models to be classed as low vibration tools.

You can protect yourself by always using the right tool for the job and maintain each tool to it's optimum level of performance.


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