HAVS Awareness Day
Practicality Brown hosted a ‘HAVS Awareness and Investigation’ day. This initiative was driven by Fusion JV to look at whether the risk of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) can be reduced within the land and vegetation clearance industry.
What is HAVS
Workers whose hands are regularly exposed to high levels of vibration may suffer from a variety of work-related injuries to the hands and arms, including impaired blood flow and nerve damage. Collectively the injuries and the symptoms they cause are known as HAVS, also known as “White Finger”.
Reducing HAVS risk
Whilst much of the risk of HAVS has been removed by mechanising vegetation works, we still have the need to use chainsaws within the industry. Practicality Brown use Dymax Tree shears; 10” on 8-tonne excavators, 14” on 14 tonne and a 16” on 21 tonne, which are optimum for vegetation clearance, however, the diameter of the cut is limited. Chainsaws still need to be used to; cut large diameter material, in locations inaccessible for plant and where mobilisation of large equipment is uneconomical.
If large sections of timber are felled by chainsaw then further cutting can be kept to a minimum as excavators with tree shears, selector grabs or wood crackers, forestry forwarders and whole tree chippers can be used to process the timber. We would not expect any Practicality Brown chainsaw operator to get close to HAVS exposure limits during our clearance operations.
This event aimed to highlight, increase awareness and investigate how tool manufacturers are helping to further reduce the risk of HAVS with the release of new equipment.
After presentations from Practicality Brown and Fusion, Stihl and Husqvarna exhibited and discussed new models of chainsaw including new petrol injected and battery-powered models. The different saws were used in a live demonstration whilst being monitored for their HAVS outputs. This revealed some interesting results which we will report on in the near future..
Here at Practicality Brown, health and safety and occupational health are our number one priority and want to provide the best possible working conditions for our employees. Awareness days like this will hopefully help to drive and improve industry standards for HAVS.