Safety Spotlight: Hand Arm Vibration & Noise at Work

As part of February’s Hazard of the Month, Occupational Health, we’re highlighting two key areas: Hand Arm Vibration and Noise at Work.

Hand Arm Vibration

Road worker using pneumatic hammerHand arm vibration is a condition caused by the use of hand-held power tools, and can cause significant and disabling damage – with nearly 2 million people at risk of ill health, including loss of grip strength, numbness and pain in the fingers, and more. Hand arm vibration syndrome is preventable, but any damage done is irreversible, and the cost to both employers and their employees can potentially be huge.

Employers have a legal duty to their employees to protect them from the risks of hand arm vibration. But how do you know if you have a hand-arm vibration problem at work?

If your employees regularly and frequently work with vibrating tools and equipment and/or handle vibrating materials, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you work in an industry such as construction, foundries, or heavy steel fabrication/shipyards, where exposures to vibration are particularly high?
  • Do your employees experience tingling and numbness in their hands or fingers after using vibrating tools?
  • Do your employees hold vibrating work pieces?
  • Do your employees regularly use hand-held/hand-guided machines and power tools such as:
    • concrete breakers, concrete pokers
    • sanders, grinders, disc cutters
    • hammer drills
    • chainsaws, brush cutters, hedge trimmers
  • Do your employees regularly operate hammer action tools for more than about 15 minutes a day, or rotary and other action tools for more than about one hour a day?

Learn more about how to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to hand arm vibration with our Hand Arm Vibration online training course. Save 10% for February only with the code ‘occupational10’!

Noise at Work

When noise at work should be investigated as described in the textNoise at work has the potential to cause hearing loss – in some cases, such as after leaving a noisy place, this may be temporary. However, if exposure is continually repeated, then hearing can gradually become permanently damaged. Sometimes, those exposed to noise at work may also develop tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears, which can disturb sleep and cause stress.

By law, employers must assess and identify controls to eliminate or reduce the risk of noise exposure in order to protect their workers’ hearing. This may include the provision of hearing protection, clear information, training and health surveillance being used, and the proper implementation of any other controls.

If any of the below apply to noise in your workplace, it should be looked into:

  • It is intrusive for most of the working day e.g. a consistently busy road, crowded environment etc.
  • It is created by impacts (e.g. pneumatic impact tools, hammering etc.), or explosive sources
  • Employees use noisy machinery or powered tools for over half an hour per day
  • It is common in your industry e.g. construction, foundries, engineering etc.
  • It causes your employees to have to raise their voices to have a normal conversation when about 2 m apart for at least part of the day

Learn more about how to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to noise with our Noise at Work online training course. Save 10% for February only with the code ‘occupational10’!

Hand Arm Vibration and Noise at Work training courses are essential tools in protecting your workers from occupational hazards. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 10% off deal on these courses, available until the end of February. Simply enter the code ‘occupational10’ at checkout to save!

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