Hand Arm Vibration 


An independent report by the IOM on the validity of the data produced by Reactec’s HAVwear to inform a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. 

 

The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) was requested by Reactec to conduct an independent review of data collected using the HAVwear system and subsequently provided a report in January 2018. 

 
 
HAVwear collects two types of assessment data to be viewed online: 
  1. It uses a tools pre-defined vibration magnitude and length of time the tool is in use to calculate exposure points in accordance with The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and HSE guidance. Reactec name this type of exposure points as “Tool Exposure Points” (TEP).
  2. It also determines the vibration transmitted to the tool wearer’s wrist and mathematically corrects for the energy loss between the wrist and the tool grip point. The HAVwear uses this determined  vibration magnitude and the length of time the tool is in use to calculate exposure points relating to real-time vibration exposure experienced by the wearer. Reactec name this type of exposure points as “Sensed Exposure Points” (SEP).
     
The purpose of the report was to demonstrate if HAVwear’s SEP data can be used: (1) to inform a suitable and sufficient risk assessment; and (2) in the development of risk reduction control measures for HAVS
 
 
 
The IOM report concludes:
  • In a recent study, data generated by the HAVwear system has been reviewed by the respected independent body – the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM). This review concluded that data gathered by the HAVwear system provides a useful source of information to inform a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
  • The IOM report establishes that whilst the HAVwear system measures vibration experienced by a user rather than "on the tool" in accordance with the requirements of BS EN ISO 5349-1: 2001, HAVwear can provide ranges of vibration magnitude comparable to those produced by conventional measurement techniques.
  • The IOM agrees that data produced by the HAVwear system can inform a risk assessment that is realistic with respect to actual tool use. It is also of the view that, as the HAVwear system assesses vibration exposure during the entire use of the tool, it may therefore be more accurate than the use of trigger times and manufacturer’s data or other data sources compiled for a limited range of tool activity.
  • The IOM findings conclude that the data gathered by the HAVwear system on a regular basis can inform the development of risk reduction control measures and can be used to identify trends in risk reduction as part of a risk management program. 
  • That the HAVwear system has advantages over conventional means of vibration magnitude measurements.
 
 
 
The study was also requested due to an HSE FAQ published in early 2017 that had been broadly misinterpreted that HAVwear should not be used.
 
The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 requires that a risk assessment be carried out using vibration data that most likely reflects the task under taken. While the regulation does not require that a tool must be measured to develop an understanding of the vibration level for a risk assessment, a standard does exist for consistently measuring the vibration level of a tool. Measuring a tool to the standard is an expensive, intrusive process and not practical to apply in every day tool use. It is therefore accepted that other sources of data can be used for a risk assessment provided they are credible relative to established understanding such as the HSE Appendix 3 Sources of Vibration Data or consistent with conventional testing results.
 
The study was designed in two stages:
  1. The IOM firstly reviewed data collated by Reactec from 23 tool onsite scenarios with up to 3 simultaneous test methodologies – HAVwear and two ISO5349 compliant instruments. Each tool was tested up to 30 times. The IOM statistically analysed the data for consistency and correlation.
  2. From phase 1 the IOM determined a range of tools to evaluate autonomously which would yield a broad spectrum of tool behaviour. The IOM undertook 477 independent tests of 40 tools covering 16 tool types. The work was carried out in real tool use environments including road maintenance, forestry & grounds maintenance, workshop, and garage repair shops. The aim of this phase was to consider the HAVwear as a risk assessment and or a risk management tool.
 
Analysis of the findings from both phases of work were used to address some specific questions aimed at clarifying if the system’s information could inform a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and form part of a risk management program assessing the effectiveness of control measures.
 
Reactec are delighted with the findings from the detailed evaluation. Many years of research and development were applied to ensure that Reactec could provide stakeholders with a tool to support HAV exposure risk reduction programs. Reactec were convinced that trigger timers which had no means of determining vibration data in real use were not adequate for the challenge of managing HAV exposure. The range of actual vibration from real world tool use is so great that assessments based on static vibration data must be very limited and yet the conventional means of collecting vibration data are wholly unsuited to everyday use. The IOM investigations validate the suitability of HAVwear’s unique determination of vibration, from the tool users wrist, to inform a credible, suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

 

To find out more about the HAVwear system contact Reactec on 0131 221 0930 or email info@reactec.com
 
 
IOM Report

   


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Morgan Sindall

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