HSE update on HAVS non compliance

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Proposed Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme comes into effect on 1st October 2012 to recover its costs from health and safety inspections on companies in breach of health and safety legislation and regulations, and not to be taken from the public purse.

In 2011 the HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction, Philip White, highlighted the issue where he said companies had taken their ‘eye off the ball’ when it came to traditional health and safety risks such as Hand Arm Vibration.

With the number of Hand Arm Vibration claims rising, health surveillance is not 100% effective and paper based HAV monitoring proves to be ineffective against claims; companies are under more pressure than ever to secure the welfare of their workforce and company from HAVS risk, whilst reducing cost.

Reactec - market leaders in vibration health and safety - believes that their HAVmeter solution will help employers better and more effectively manage HAVS risk and to comply with HSE regulations.

Stewart McNaughton, Health and Safety Consultant with Reactec said: “Risk management is an integral part of running a business and companies need to put plans in place to prevent, eliminate and mitigate risk.”

Companies can often find themselves in compromising situations as a result of not taking sufficient measures to help prevent staff becoming victim to HAVS. “If businesses don’t give staff the right tools to use in terms of health and safety, it can more than likely end up the fault of the company, which can lead to employees taking legal proceedings against their employer.” “An employer takes on the responsibility of an employee’s HAV history so it is important to be able quantify their health status to assess safe tool usage. It is common knowledge that employee education is essential and vibration reduction through tool training and working practises are required to minimise vibration exposure.” “With over 300,000 people already estimated to have advanced symptoms of vibration white finger, companies also need to be aware that they could be taking on employees who already have the onset of the condition.”

The cost versus risk is the benchmark for some companies whilst others wish to achieve the best welfare support. Even if some issues are more pressing and HAVS risk is sitting on the to-do list, ignoring a HAV management policy until something actually happens imposes a risk for all.

Evidence shows that other forms of monitoring such as a paper based system are highly inaccurate due to human error and manipulation to increase exposure to claims. Companies need to utilise a continual monitoring solution such as the HAVmeter system to accurately monitor HAV exposure and streamline the process to save on administration costs. Having accurate data is paramount to base decisions on to help reduce HAVS risk as specified with HSE requirements. You cannot manage what you don’t monitor. Reactec’s HAVmeter solution simplifies HAV management, greatly reducing the guess work from vibration exposure by automatically measuring tool usage and exposure using the HSE points system. It also removes the operator from the recording process and therefore reduces human error. This tamper proof and auditable solution accurately generates exposure reports instantly as well as on how to improve tool utilisation and work force efficiency. HAVmeter is the UK’s leading and industry proven system for monitoring vibration exposure and, in addition to being offered by major hire firms is used by many of the country’s biggest construction, manufacturing and grounds maintenance companies including Balfour Beatty, Tarmac, Aston Martin, and Crown Estates.

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