An innovative safety device designed to keep workers free from vibration injuries has received national acclaim after helping a top UK hire firm win a major industry award.
WHC Hire Services was presented with the health and safety prize at this year’s Hire Awards of Excellence, in recognition of its use of the groundbreaking HAVmeter device to prevent injuries among workers who hire vibrating power tools.
The firm currently provides HAVmeters as a safety system for clients across the UK to help reduce injuries and ailments associated with the excessive use of industrial power tools and vibrating equipment.
The equipment accurately records workers’ exposure times to vibration in order to protect them from contracting Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome – one of the most crippling diseases associated with using power tools.
James Clutterbuck, director of WHC Hire Services, said that the innovative devices were key to the firm’s ongoing safety commitments in the UK hire sector.
He said: "There are a lot of devices on the market that claim to reduce injury and monitor the vibration levels that workers are exposed to, but none of them are anywhere near as good as the HAVmeter. It is miles ahead of the rest of its competitors.
"We have been offering the devices for the past two years and there’s no doubt that they help to reduce the chance of workers using industrial power tools and vibrating equipment from suffering injuries. To be recognised in the Hire Awards of Excellence for our commitment to improving safety – and to beat many of the biggest names in the hire sector to the prize – is a reflection of just how good the technology is.
"In the past, you would have to physically write down how long you had spent using a vibrating power tool in order to work out when you were approaching the safe limits for the day. It wasn’t a precise method at all, and was open to error – which meant that the risks of people contracting HAVS were still high.
"The beauty of the HAVmeter is that it’s easy to use and it precisely monitors the vibration levels that you’re exposed to. It uses accurate data tailored to each user and, if you get to your limit, the device flashes and you’re done – which greatly reduces the chance of injury and any resulting litigation from workers.
"The meters form a big part of our ongoing safety drive and we’re delighted that this commitment has been rewarded with one of the hire sector’s most prestigious safety awards."
The Hire Awards of Excellence success is the latest in a list of major accolades that the HAVmeter technology has received in recent months across a diverse range of industries. Earlier this year, Severn Trent Water was presented with the prestigious National Joint Utilities Group safety award in recognition of its use of HAVmeters among its street teams – while Aston Martin was shortlisted in the Occupational Health Awards for its use of the technology.
Jim O’Hagan, Managing Director of the HAVmeter division at Reactec, said: "The Hire Awards of Excellence are the biggest awards in the UK hire sector. Many of the leading names are considered for the top accolades, so it is a real honour that our HAVmeters have helped WHC Hire Services win the health and safety excellence award.
"The HAVmeter is a tool that is fast becoming the industry standard for monitoring exposure to hand arm vibration, and the companies that use the meters are being rightly seen as the pioneers of health and safety in their fields.
"WHC Hire Services was one of the first hire firms to recognise the benefits of providing HAVmeters within the UK hire sector and our devices are proving instrumental in their health and safety work across the country. Winning this latest award is deserved recognition for their forward-thinking commitment to tackling the problem of vibration injuries throughout the country."
HAVmeters measure and record the trigger time and vibration levels on power tools, to ensure machinery operators do not exceed the recommended levels stipulated by the Health & Safety Executive. This minimises their exposure to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome – more commonly known as Vibration White Finger – a disease that affects the functionality of blood vessels resulting in symptoms such as numbness or tingling of the fingers, loss of strength in the hands and the cold whitening of the fingertips. The disease makes even the simplest of everyday tasks, such as tying shoelaces or holding a glass, a hardship.
The HAVmeter system provides every worker with a device that is programmed with their vibration exposure limits, which they attach to every tool that they use during their shift. By analysing and reporting each employee’s trigger time and total HSE points accumulated during a day’s shift, the technology replaces inaccurate and cumbersome paper-based systems that were previously used to record exposure.
Once the data is uploaded into Toolminder software, a comprehensive set of standard and custom reports can be created that show workers a full breakdown of their exposure to vibration levels that occupational healthcare staff can use to manage each employees healthcare plan.