TOOLBOX TALK Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
What is HAVS? • A disorder which affects the blood vessels, nerves and muscles of the hand, wrist and forearm. • Can be severely disabling. • Is better known as Vibration White Finger.
Why talk about HAVS? • 1 Million workers are exposed to high levels of vibration, of those 460,000 are estimated to be working in construction. • 242,000 cases of HAVS are reported every year.
What are the Symptoms? • Tingling and numbness in the fingers. • In the cold and wet fingers go blue then red and are painful. • You can’t feel things with your fingers. • Pain or tingling in your forearms at night which stop you sleeping. • Loss of strength in you arms and hands.
Who is at Risk? • Users of breakers and pokers, sanders and angle grinders. • Users of scabblers and needle guns. • Users of drills and jigsaws.
Who is at Risk? • Those with disease’s that reduce blood flow. • Workers in cold and damp condition.
Ask for low vibration tools. Try a different approach to your job. Use the right tool for the job. Keep blades and cutting edges sharp. How Can I Prevent it?
How can I Prevent it? • Check the tool has been properly maintained. • Reduce the amount of time you use the tool. • Keep the handles warm.
How can I Prevent it? • Improve your blood circulation by: • Keeping warm, wear gloves etc. • Giving up smoking. Smoking drastically impairs blood flow through the body. • Massaging and exercising fingers during work breaks.
What else Can I Do? • Learn to Recognise the signs of HAVS. • Stop work and report any symptoms to your supervisor immediately. • Use any control measures provided, I.e gloves etc, that your employer has provided. • Ask for advice from your safety department or safety rep.
Remember • Once you have had an attack of HAVS, you will always be at risk. • Tell your supervisor as soon as you suspect any symptoms.