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Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) – Often overlooked for bolting?

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HYTORC's HAVS Free Bolting Solutions

Hand Arm Vibration (HAVS) in one of the most overlooked issues when it comes to operation of bolting tooling in many industries such as Oil and Gas, Water, Chemical, Mining and many more. Regular exposure to hand-arm vibration can lead to permanent and disabling injuries to your hands, arms and fingers. Some of the most common injuries include:

· Damage to your blood circulatory system which causes “Vibration White Finger”

· Muscle damage which affects grip strength and can be severe enough to lose your grip

· Damage to joints causing pain in wrists

· Nerve damage causing losses in your sense of touch and temperature

What measures are put in place by law?

Measures have been put in place through exposure laws and recommendations but often these are ignored on sites around the world, especially on time critical operations. Under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, employers must prevent or reduce risks to your health and safety from exposure to vibration at work by carrying out a risk assessment for vibration, and eliminating or where elimination is not reasonably practicable, reducing exposure to vibration to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.

How is vibration measured?

Vibration is measured using the A(8) formula. A = Average Exposure & (8) = 8 hour day.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that for hand-arm vibration (HAV), the daily Exposure Limit Value (ELV) is 5 m/s2 A(8) and the daily Exposure Action Value (EAV) is 2.5 m/s2 A(8).

Where do impact drivers and other non-controlled methods fair?

Hammer action tools such as impact drivers/drills operate usually at a minimum of 8 m/s2 and I have seen some petrol operated impact tools operate at around 15-25 m/s2.

Using a points systemset out by HSE, where do you/your workers fair?

Multiply the points by the amount of hours you/your workers spend using these tools. What do you come out with? 300 points, 400 points, more?

100 points per day = exposure action value (EAV)

400 points per day = exposure limit value (ELV)

Let’s put that into context. Your using a petrol impact wrench, it’s fast and it’s powerful, it has vibration levels of 15-25 m/s2 BUT you can only use it for a maximum of 1 hour per day (at the minimum vibration levels) and after 15 minutes, actions should be taken by the employer to prevent the use. Crazy right?

Are there bolting tools that eliminate HAV exposure?

YES, you can use controlled torque tooling where HAVS have been eliminated using reaction arms. Reaction arms brace the opposite forces when tightening or loosening nuts. This ensures that the operator is not exposed to vibrations or “kick-backs”. They may be slower than your average impact driver but having a controlled method allows for increased safety and better joint integrity (when used by a trained operator). There are Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Battery options available so portability in not an issue. Hands Free tooling options are also now available on the market and also pinch point free bolting can now be achieved through HYTORC’s innovative Washer System.

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) – Often overlooked for bolting?

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