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What is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

04 September 2017

Author: Nick Mole 

What is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a widespread recognised industrial disease which is affecting thousands of workers every day. When asking what is hand arm vibration syndrome, in simple terms it is a disorder which affects the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm. It is normally caused by excessive, long-term exposure to working with tools that vibrate. 1 in 10 people who work regularly with vibrating tools may develop hand arm vibration syndrome.

hand arm vibration syndrome is preventable but once the damage is done, it is permanent and it can become very costly. New ‘No Win No Fee’ claims companies are increasing. Awards at Court have increased significantly and out of court settlements are becoming less attractive to claimants.

What can I do to assess the risk of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome in my business?

Metal Fabrication Supplies offer a Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Tool Monitoring Service to all of our customers, who's employees could be exposed to the harmful vibration levels when using angle grinders and the consumable products used in conjunction with them.

Being an independent distributor, we offer some of the most productive angle grinders and consumable combinations available. They are selected to help reduce trigger times, and importantly they

What is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

will deliver the lowest vibration levels possible.

Our technicians are certified and accredited by the Institution of Diagnostic Engineers to carry out all Hand Arm Vibration testing.

Step one: We will arrange an initial consultation with your Business Manager to assess if we can help with your employee’s exposure to HAVS. We will need to know what make and type of tools are being used, what brands and types of consumables are being used, what processes are the grinders and consumables being used for, are HAVs records or data currently available and are the grinders being serviced on a regular basis.

Step two: Then we will arrange a date (normally within two weeks after the consultation) for one of our fully qualified HAVS testers to visit and carry out an evaluation. We will need to carry out a five-stage process to ensure your tools are HAV tested to the highest standards.

  1. Assessment – we need to ensure the tools being tested are safe to use and are in good working order. If there are any issues we come across and the tool is unsafe, then no test can be carried out but we can offer our repair service.
  2. Preparation – we then need to mount the HAVS meter to the tool as close to the trigger position as possible.
  3. Testing – this involves testing the tool in all application types, in some cases two or three tests may be carried out the determine the highest vibration value.
  4. Test results – once the tools have been tested we will record the readings. Based on this information we are then able to work out how long that particular tool in this application can be used for.
  5. Reporting and certification – we then provide a detailed and impartial report on each application which is compiled using the data gathered during testing. Where the same tool is to be used for multiple applications, the test results for each test and possible risk level will be shown.  The results can then be used to assist with your own company risk assessment.

Application risk values will be colour coded as per the HSE recognised “Traffic Light” system:

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Traffic Light System

Step three: As part of our HAVS tool monitoring service, the data is recorded for all the tools tested on site. The data stored includes

  • Make, model and ID number of the tool
  • The current consumables used with the tool
  • Condition of the tool
  • Vibration magnitude and possible risk to exposure of each application

Vibration levels on existing grinders can alter when parts start to wear, with a satisfactory maintenance schedule it can help to maintain consistent vibration levels. We can offer a preventative maintenance programme on all grinders sold from our range, recalling them for servicing on a planned and managed schedule. This will ensure that tools are kept in the best possible condition.

Machines are returned for a scheduled fixed price mini Service, this will also include a HAVS and PAT test.

Tools will then be returned with an up the to date certification, the data resulting from the service is logged, and we will remind you when the tools are next due back again.

For in house testing purposes we can only offer the mini service on angle grinder & consumables combinations marketed by Metal Fabrication Supplies.


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