‘We still come across organisations where workers are using tools and equipment who really do not understand the disabling effects of vibration injury, they do not know where to start in introducing controls and often simple measures can reduce risk significantly’.
This remark was made by the Vice President of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Louise Hosking, at a conference which took place yesterday.
‘Shake, rattle and roll! Managing noise and vibration in practice’, organised by the IOSH Rural Industries Group (RIG), presented information on the dangers of excessive noise and vibration exposure for workers in construction, grounds maintenance, public, environmental and other sectors.
Over the course of the day, lectures and demonstrations were presented by ‘HSE specialist inspectors, leading industry managers, trainers and OHS practitioners’ on ‘good practice and practical control and measurement of noise and vibration’.[i]
Citing ‘around two million’ – and rising – hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) cases, IOSHRIG Chair, Alan Plom, warned audiences that:
‘There is significant under-reporting of injuries and ill health across a range of industries. Many affected workers also traditionally leave their roles, accepting that HAVS is inevitable, so this could be the tip of the iceberg.
Due to the typically high exposure levels, even relatively short durations can affect operator’s health. This is likely to include volunteers - so anyone allocating and managing the use of hand-held machines need to consider exposure to HAV and noise’.
In edition 265 of BC Disease News (here), we reported that the Building Safety Group (BSG) had seen construction-related HAV breaches increase by 33%, in 2018.
By encouraging better understanding and compliance with the legal framework on NIHL, HAVS and whole-body vibration (WBV), it is hoped that the number of personal injury claims and Health & Safety Executive (HSE)-instigated fines for breaches of Regulations will decrease, thereby easing the financial pressures of indemnifying insurers.
[i] ‘“Inevitable” vibration and noise health effects’ (15 May 2019 Health & Safety Matters) <https://www.hsmsearch.com/Inevitable-vibration-and-noise-health-effects> accessed 17 May 2019.