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William Hare

William Hare is a Bury-based structural engineering firm, which exports and erects fabricated steelwork throughout the world and in all major structural market sectors. Thanks to recent exemplary practices, the firm is leading the way for effective hand arm vibration (HAV) management in the workplace, contributing to improved business practices and an injury free culture.

Brian Hughes, Director of Safety for William Hare, explains the actions taken to protect his workforce against hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and the numerous business benefits encountered along the way.

He said: “Following a work study, including on-site testing to measure vibration exposure, it became clear that a formal assessment of tools being used was required, as well as an examination of the quality and level of training given to staff on how to use these tools, and the risk of over exposure.

“A large volume of grinding was being undertaken for various projects, but the tools we used for this gave a high vibration output. We decided to replace all high vibration tools and equipment, and reinvest in the latest low vibration and ergonomically designed tools, to demonstrate to our employees, customers and competitors that we are committed to preserving the health of our workers. This made it possible to reduce vibration exposure to less than 2.5m/s2 for all tool users.

“Still, health surveillance remains an integral part of our company culture, so we continuously approach our workforce to make sure they are fully informed of the health damage associated with over-exposure to vibration.”

Not content with just conforming to HSE guidelines, William Hare introduced Reactec’s HAVmeter system with the specific aim of reducing exposure action value to below 100 points per day. The HAVmeter completely automates the entire monitoring, data collection and reporting process – from operator exposure levels to detailed records of tool usage – so managers can proactively manage HAVS risk, plan efficient tool allocation, and improve worker efficiency.

Brian said: “The HAVmeter allows us to check that the systems and procedures that we had previously implemented are working as they should, as well as to reduce exposure for those showing first stage symptoms of HAVS down to just 50 points per day.

“Reactec’s solution has given us the comfort of knowing that we are constantly and effectively managing the risk of HAVS, and our employees are operating within HSE guidelines of 100 points per day, taking personal responsibility for their own welfare. Instant access to data reports and other features such as tool tracking are also very useful.

“We’re reaping the rewards of our health and safety expenditure; reducing the risk of HAVS and protecting our workforce has paid dividends for us, and we’ve found that improving working conditions has also helped us with our asset management and resulted in worker efficiency, tool efficiency and a generally positive working environment.”

Testimonial:

GAP Group - Malcolm Campbell, Health & Safety Manager

“We’ve been working with the HAVmeter system for the past few years as part of our ongoing commitment to reducing hand arm vibration injuries. It is an impressive tool that provides the best way to monitor vibration levels and ensure HSE levels are not exceeded – which is why are now able to program and install the HAVmeter tags on tools in all of our UK depots.”