HAVS monitoring has now become common in the workplace. Those that are subjected to intense or long-term exposure of vibrating tools are at great risk of developing HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome) and there have been important strides forward made to protect those workers from permanent harm.
The hope is that as the technology and techniques of HAVS monitoring continue to evolve, employees and employers will be more informed of the real-time risks and will be less likely to get injured while using vibrating tools.
What is HAVS Monitoring?
According to Shaun from Principal Power Tools “HAVS monitoring is a combination of techniques and tools used to monitor the level and length of exposure that employees are subjected to when using vibrating tools.” Many employers, employees, employee unions and insurance companies now want to see data about HAVS monitoring and procedures to protect employees from the inherent dangers of vibrating tools.
How is HAVS Monitoring Accomplished?
As the dangers of HAVS have become known, exposure limit values (ELVs) were developed to determine safe working limits for those at risk of developing HAVS. HAVS monitoring is accomplished through the use of sensors designed to be attached to tools, sensors worn by employees using vibrating tools and equipment, as well as inventory management systems. Through risk assessments and data collection, steps can be taken to change work patterns or frequency to protect workers.
- Tool Monitors
These monitors are attached to tools and measure the magnitude and frequency of vibrations emanating from the tools themselves. This information is used to determine the level of vibration workers are exposed to and factored into their ELVs for the day.
- Wearable Vibration Monitors
This tech is designed to get an accurate reading of the vibrations that workers endure by measuring vibration through their bodies rather than the tools they are using.
- Inventory Management Systems
Systems designed to track and monitor equipment and materials that are used in work that is a high HAVS risk activity. By tracking materials, such as grinding disks, you can determine how much vibration one employee is being exposed to by how much of a certain material they use.
Who Benefits from HAVS Monitoring?
Everyone benefits from HAVS monitoring! Even though taking the time and implementing policies regarding HAVS risks and HAVS monitoring can be inconvenient, the upsides far exceed these minor inconveniences.
- Employers protect their workforce and reduce lost time and compensation claims as a result of HAVS-related injuries.
- Employees enjoy a higher quality of work and life by reducing their exposure to dangerous vibration levels, leading to fewer injuries and overall healthier lives.
- Insurance companies can better manage their clients by using data to implement sound policies concerning HAVS monitoring and other HAVS-related issues.
What is the Most Effective Method of HAVS Monitoring?
All situations are unique and “the most effective” course of action depends on the type of work, the person performing the tasks and any number of other relevant factors. In many cases, it may be a combination of these three techniques, as well as others, that will lead to a comprehensive and balanced approach to HAVS monitoring.