Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
What is HAVS?
It is a disorder which affects the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm. If ignored it may become disabling. It is also known as “White Finger”
Signs to look out for?
- Tingling and numbness in fingers
- Painful fingers in cold and wet, fingers white, then blue, then red
- Can’t feel things with fingers – difficult to pick up small objects for example nails or screens
- Pain – numbness in hand, wrists and arms which may disturb sleep
- Loss of strength in hands
Who is at Risk?
- Anyone who regularly uses hand-held power tools
- Symptoms will probably get worse if you continue to use high vibration tools a lot
How can I prevent it?
- Ask employer if your job could be done in a different way
- Use low vibration tools
- Always use right tool for the job
- Always make sure tools are maintained and repaired
- Make sure cutting tools are kept sharp
- Make sure when selecting diamond blades, that you’re using the correct blade for the material
- Reduce time you use tool in one go, do other jobs in between
- Avoid gripping / Forcing tool more than you have to
- Store tools in dry / warm environment avoiding cold handles
- Keep warm and dry (wear gloves, hats, waterproofs)
- Give up or cut down on smoking
- Massage and exercise your fingers during work break
- Learn to identify signs of vibration injury
- Report and symptoms to your employer and doctor
- Ask your health and safety representative for advice
- Use any control measures your employer has put in place