A safety device designed to dramatically cut vibration injuries in the construction sector has helped one of the UK’s biggest tool and plant hire companies to win a prestigious health & safety award.
The HAVmeter system, which monitors workers’ exposure to vibration levels in order to reduce the risk of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), was cited as one of the reasons for GAP Group being awarded this year’s European Rental Safety Award – one of the top accolades in the hire sector.
The prize, which was announced at the European Rental Awards 2011 ceremony in Amsterdam, recognised the GAP Group’s commitment to raising awareness over health & safety issues, reducing injuries among workers and cutting its accident rate by 44% to achieve its lowest level in five years.
The judges also highlighted how GAP Group had invested more than £100,000 in making HAVmeters available across all of its UK depots, in order to help monitor and limit workers’ exposure to vibration from power tools.
Malcolm Campbell, Health & Safety Manager from GAP Group, said: "We’re delighted to receive this year’s European Rental Safety Award in recognition of our commitment to improving health & safety across our whole business.
"Raising awareness over occupational health and safety issues and reducing injuries is extremely important in our business – and in the hire sector in general. That’s why we’ve strived to cut our accident rate and provide the best possible safety equipment to employees.
"We’ve been working with the HAVmeter system for the past few years as part of our ongoing commitment to reducing hand arm vibration injuries. It is an impressive tool that provides the best way to monitor vibration levels and ensure HSE levels are not exceeded – which is why are now able to program and install the HAVmeter tags on tools in all of our UK depots."
Jim O’Hagan, Managing Director of Reactec Ltd which invented and produces the HAVmeter system, said: "The GAP Group is one of the biggest names in the European tool and plant hire sector, so it’s great news that it continues to be fully behind the HAVmeter system. The company has recognised the devices as the best way to monitor vibration levels and to prevent injuries among people who use vibrating power tools – and it has demonstrated this by making HAVmeter tags available across all of its depots.
"We’re delighted that our devices have been highlighted as one of the reasons for the GAP Group winning the recent European Rental Safety Award. These awards highlight best practice across the whole of Europe’s tool and plant hire industry, so it is very important recognition for our technology.
"HAVmeter is a tool that is fast becoming the industry standard for monitoring exposure to hand arm vibration, and it’s clear that the companies that use the meters are being rightly seen as the pioneers of health and safety in their fields."
Reactec Ltd developed the HAVmeter as an accurate method of monitoring and recording vibration levels from power tools and other vibrating equipment, to ensure workers do not exceed the limits set by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
Under the system, every worker is provided with a HAVmeter device that is programmed with their vibration exposure limits, and employees attach the devices to every tool that they use during their shift. The HAVmeters analyse and record every employee’s trigger time and the total HSE accumulated during their day’s shift – which can then be uploaded using Toolminder software to create individual reports on every employee’s vibration exposure.
The technology replaces inaccurate and cumbersome paper-based systems that were previously used to record exposure – and provides the most accurate overview of vibration management that occupational healthcare staff can use to manage each employees healthcare plan.
HAVmeters are designed to help prevent workers from contracting Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), a crippling disease that is the biggest risk from working with vibrating power tools and equipment. The condition 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. More information about HAVmeters can be found at the website: http://www.reactec.com/havmeter/