Regular and frequent exposure to HAV from use of vibrating tools such as hand-held power tools, disc cutters, lawn mowers, chainsaws, concrete breakers, or vibration in a work process, can lead to a range of conditions known as Hand-arm vibration syndrome as well as Raynaud’s syndrome, Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and vibration white finger (VWF).
HAVS is preventable but once the damage is done it is permanent. It can affect the vascular, nervous and Musculo-skeletal system of the upper limbs. Symptoms may include any combination of tingling and numbness in the fingers, fingers going white but becoming red and painful on recovery and/or loss of strength and feeling in the fingers and hands.
The Control of Hand Arm Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 aims to protect workers against the risk to health from vibration.
The purpose of health surveillance is to:
Tier 1: An initial questionnaire completed by the employee and reviewed by the occupational health provider before the employee starts working with vibrating tools.
Tier 2: Annual questionnaire for the employee who remains working with vibrating tools.
Tier 3: If an employee declares vibration-related symptoms, a Tier 3 assessment will be carried out by a HAVS qualified nurse.
Tier 4: This assessment will be carried out by a HAVS qualified Doctor and is when a formal diagnosis is made.
The employer will be notified at each stage so that controls can be put into place to prevent further, more severe symptoms which could lead to disability and loss of employment.
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