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Dorset County Council

Grounds and Aboricultural Services
Dorset County Council were looking for a better way to monitor HAVS as they were not satisfied the manual recording process being used was working effectively.

Hand Arm Vibration ranks high on the agenda for Dorset County Council and the authority needed to have confidence that they are not unnecessarily exposing staff to excessive levels of vibration.

The Authority uses a range of equipment covering grounds maintenance operations including; chainsaws, strimmers, hedge cutters, long-reach trimmers and lawn mowers.

Action

Dorset implemented a trial of the HAVmeter system in 2010 after staff were manually recording each day on a piece of paper how many minutes of full trigger time they thought they had achieved. This was not a robust enough way of recording due to the inaccurate projections of trigger times by operators. The paper monitoring system is also not an auditable system that could stand up in court or if the council was exposed to any litigation – hence the trial with the HAVmeter.

The Authority also has a policy of replacing equipment every 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the type of tool. This has been applied as a blanket approach based on the presumption that all similar tools are equally utilised and require replacement within the same timeframe.

Conclusion
Steve Maros, Arboriculture Manager said “The HAVmeter helps staff remove the guesswork from estimating how many minutes trigger time the operators had used a machine for.  The reports generated from the system are very good at identifying tool utilisation to help manage and cut tool and operator costs. For example, we would normally replace all strimmers every two years but as a result of using the HAVmeter we have identified variations in strimmer utilisation resulting in a number not required to be replaced for an additional year. This has equated to a saving on that particular item of approximately £4500.”

“If you roll this out across hedge-cutters, leaf blowers and chainsaws then the size of the cost savings can exceed £18,000 on an annual basis which is a significant cost saving for the authority.”

Testimonial:

Everton Football Club - Richard Cairns, Health & Safety Manager

“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is not just a problem for people using industrial power tools in the construction or manufacturing sectors – it can affect anyone who regularly uses other vibrating equipment including mowers and strimmers. We have dozens of lawnmowers that are in daily use at Goodison Park and our training complex at Finch Farm, so we have to have a monitoring system that is simple and effective. “In the past we relied on timesheets and individual record-keeping to monitor vibration exposure, but the HAVmeter system is a far superior method of doing this. All of the information is collated by the devices and provides us with a comprehensive overview of how much exposure each member of staff is subjected to. If they reach the safe limit stipulated by the HSE, then they are alerted to the danger at once – meaning there is no chance of over-exposure. “However, it is not just a good tool for preventing injuries. The system allows us to generate reports about the vibration levels of our equipment, so we can identify which machines need to be replaced or upgraded. It’s a very versatile piece of kit that will continue to be hugely beneficial to our groundskeeping operations in the future.”