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What is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)?

Thursday, 18 October 2018

If you work with concrete breakers, hammer drills, chipping hammers, chainsaws and any other piece of equipment that causes high energy vibration, you're at risk of developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). It was initially known as Vibration White Finger (VWF), and the government have estimated that there are up to 288,000 suffers in the UK alone. It's important to recognise symptoms fast, as if left untreated and ignored can cause permanent damage to the hand and arm.

Vibration White Finger
Using power tools can cause permanent damage to your hands

What is Vibration White Finger?

Vibration White Finger was the name given to damaged hands caused by power tools as often the fingers can turn white, but more recently it has become more commonly known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS for short. As the fingers are damaged, blood can't flow as usual and this can become particularly apparent in wet and cold weather. Using high vibration power tools can cause HAVS to develop because continuous use causes damage to the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hand and arm.

It is a secondary, industrial form of Raynaud's Syndrome, where circulation problems occur in cold working conditions. Early symptoms include white fingers in the cold, followed by numbness, tingling and a loss of nerve sensitivity and if ignored it can quickly become worse, leave you unable to do your job with permanently injured hands.

What are the Symptoms?

HAVS is preventable, so it's important to recognise the key symptoms early. Early symptoms of HAVS include:

  • Tingling and numbness in the fingers
  • Losing a sense of feeling in the fingers
  • Loss of strength in your hands
  • Your fingers going white then red in the cold

If you don't stop using high vibration tools at this stage without adequate protection, symptoms may develop into:

  • Permanent numbness in the hands
  • Unable to pick up small items such as screws
  • White fingers could occur more regularly and become widespread

Am I at Risk?

Anyone is at risk that does not protect themselves from high-power vibration tools. Some of the more common tools that can cause ill health from vibration include:

  • Chainsaws
  • Concrete and road breakers
  • Cut-off saws
  • Hammer drills
  • Hand-held grinders
  • Impact wrenches
  • Jackhammers
  • Jigsaws
  • Needle scalers
  • Pedestal grinders
  • Pneumatic drills
  • Polishers
  • Power hammers and chisels
  • Powered lawn mowers
  • Powered sanders
  • Scrabblers
  • Strimmers

How Do I Protect Myself From HAVS

There are a number of ways to protect from VWF. This includes correctly maintaining your tools, holding tools loosely and using tools correctly. It is also recommended that you take regular breaks of at least ten minutes, keep warm at work and try to cut down on your smoking.

Another way to protect yourself from HAVS is by wearing the correct equipment. Anti-Vibration Gloves are designed specifically for use with power tools, and usually feature some form of vibration absorbing material on the gloves. The certification standard ISO 10819, ensures that each glove is up to the standard required to prevent HAVS from developing.

Our Three Top Picks

Polyco Tremor-Low Anti-Vibration Glove 8762

Anti-vibration gloves typically feature ridges across the design that act as a barrier between the vibrations and your hand. The Polyco Tremor-Low Anti-Vibration Glove is designed for use across a wide range of industries promising protection from power tools and mechanical threats alike. Comfortable and with high grip, this glove ensures to boost performance and safety.

Polyco Tremor-Low Gloves
Polyco Tremor-Low Anti-Vibration Glove 8762
 

Ejendals Tegera 9180 Anti-Vibration Work Gloves

Featuring Vibrothan fibre, the Ejendals Tegera 9180 Anti-Vibration Work Gloves are designed for mechanical use in building, construction, MRO and mining. Reinforced, these comfortable gloves provide exceptional protection from vibrating materials, with an ergonomic design that aids in the handling of heavy machinery.

Ejendals Anti-Vibration Gloves
Ejendals Tegera 9180 Anti-Vibration Work Gloves

SIP Protection Anti-Vibration Forestry Gloves 2SA3

The SIP Protection Anti-Vibration Forestry Gloves 2SA3 are designed for use with natural hazards, such as with hedgecutters, brushcutters and strimmers. Water and oil-repellent, these Anti-Vibration Gloves feature high density foam that absorbs impacts and vibrations. Extra padding on the hands and an elasticated cuff protect from extra mechanical threats.

SIP Forestry Gloves
SIP Protection Anti-Vibration Forestry Gloves S2A3

Don't Take the Risk

There are claims every single year for workers whose hands are permanently damaged from Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. Remember it is the company's responsibility to provide equipment to protect your hands, so you're in your right to ask for protection. If you want to buy some of our Anti-Vibration Gloves you can do so on our website, or call us on 020 7501 1104.

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