H.A.V.S - Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Hand Arm Vibration, often abbreviated to HAV, are vibrations that are produced and transmitted from certain working processes through the equipment into the operators hands and arms.

If you or your workforce suffer enough exposure to these vibrations for prolonged periods of time during the day or over a protracted period (such as weeks, months or even years) life changing injuries could be caused. As a collective these are called ‘Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome’ or ‘HAVS’. 

To safeguard yourself or your workforce make sure everybody is on the lookout for the basic symptoms which could indicate HAVS. Symptoms are:

  • Tingling (medically known as 'paraesthesia' or commonly known as ‘pins & needles’)
  • Numbness in the arms and hands - particularly in your finger tips and around your knuckles
  • Struggling to use your hands to pick up or hold items such as buttons or coins etc

Without treatment or periods of rest away from the vibration source your condition could become worse. Here are a few dangerous symptoms:

  • The loss of feeling to both your hands to temperature AND not being able to feel items that you touch
  • Not being able to grip objects

The most common diagnosis from this is Raynaud’s phenomenon, more commonly known as Vibration White Finger (VWF).  This disorder disrupts blood flow and circulation which causes your skins appearance to lose its colour. Raynaud’s phenomenon is most prominent when you are exposed to cold air (hence why the condition is at its worst during the winter period). The colour and feeling will eventually return to your hand, however this will be joined by a very intense throbbing pain as the blood is forced back into the area. In some instances suffers of VWF have suffered permanent numbness in their lower arms and hands, particularly their fingers.

Within the UK HSE estimates that over 750,000 people suffer from HAVS or a similar related condition with a staggering four and a half million workers potentially at risk.

HAVS and its surrounding conditions can be life altering. We advise you take extreme care and caution when using tools that produce high amounts of vibrations. Wear the correct protective clothing and equipment to help minimise the impact of such intrusive forces. If you are unsure about anything please don’t hesitate to contact us and one of the Brandon Hire Station team members will assist and guide you.