Occupational exposure to hazardous levels of vibration is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes including vibration white finger (VWF), Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), carpal tunnel as well as musculoskeletal and neurological disorders.
HAVS may be known as vibration white finger, white finger and jackhammer hands. HAVS is also related to Raynaud Syndrome.
In 2008 the National Hazard Exposure Workers Surveillance found that 43% of the 4500 workers surveyed in the Manufacturing, Construction, Transport and storage, Agriculture forestry and fishing and the Health and community services industries were exposed to Hand Arm Vibration. The largest cause of exposure was hand held power tools such as jackhammers, grinders, chainsaws and sanders.
For further reading, you can download and view the report in full under the data sheet and brochure area on the left side of this page as well as visit the Safe Work Australia and Work Safe Victoria websites.
The HAVWEAR is a personal, wrist mounted Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) monitoring device. HAVWEAR calculates and displays in real-time Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) risk points to inform the wearer of their exposure to vibration. Sound and vibration alerts also inform the wearer of incremental increases in HAVs risk exposure and action thresholds exceeded. There are two different data sets monitored by HAVWEAR; TEP and SEP.
Exposure points are calculated using a tools pre-defined average vibration magnitude.
The HAVWEAR has the ability to determine the vibration magnitude sensed at the point to which the HAVWEAR is attached to the wrist. The HAVWEAR uses the HSE methodology to calculate SEP based on the length of time a tool is in use and the vibration level sensed by the HAVWEAR during use.
Whichever option you use, both TEP and SEP data are recorded by the HAVWEAR and stored in the Reactec online Analytics Platform to be reviewed and compared as required. This unique data helps determine the most appropriate risk assessment to drive controls and protect workers.
Tool usage can be tracked by simply pushing a button before placing the HAVWEAR next to a tool tag before use. A stick-on RFID tool tag is programmed with tool information and communicates with the HAVWEAR to determine tool information.
Without accurate knowledge of operator daily exposure, the likelihood of safely applying controls to keep hand arm vibration exposure below required levels is extremely low due to the unpredictability of most work processes across sectors from landscaping to engineering. It is widely accepted that manual assessments of exposure in the workplace, following regulations, will have a high level uncertainty. This can influence actions to reduce risk as well as assessing their effectiveness at a later date. Hence, digital monitoring is critical to reduce significant uncertainty on true exposure and help expedite the mitigation of HAVS risk.
HAVWEAR is part of the Reactec Analytics Platform which automates the whole process from calculating HSE exposure points in the field to viewing online reports. The reports include individual worker exposure and related tool use to pinpoint exposure hotspots. Also, over the longer term the Reactec Analytics Platform can be used to manage the exposure of the whole work force and therefore positively impact on health management.
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