Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company has been a subsidiary of the Go-Ahead Group plc since 1993 and one of the top 3 UK bus companies. The Go-Ahead philosophy is to run its transport companies as autonomous businesses in tune with the local market. Brighton & Hove have successfully grown the market for local bus travel by an average 5% each year since 1993, something which is unique in the bus industry.
Having been in the public transport business since running horse drawn buses in the 1880s, they now have one of the most modern fleets of state-of-the-art vehicles. Running a fleet of around 260 modern, diesel and hybrid buses on local bus services as well as 4 luxury coaches, all are repaired and maintained completely in house.
Having previously used tool diaries as part of a measure of controls for managing Hand Arm Vibration (HAV), it was deemed ‘notoriously inaccurate and difficult to collate’. The tool diaries were found to over-exaggerate risk and extremely time consuming to use and collate. Although it was always suspected by the company that their HAVS risk was in fact low and workers rarely exceeded 100 HSE exposure points, it was not practical to confirm this.
The main risk of employee exposure to HAV came from the maintenance of the company’s fleet of buses which are all repaired and maintained in house. Maintenance of the fleet involves employees using a variety of tools including air impact guns, air saws and sanders.
After reviewing a number of systems Brighton Buses trialled and then deployed the Reactec Analytics Platform which includes a wearable wrist monitor called HAVwear and online exposure reports. Immediately they found the Analytics reports gave them greater insight and accuracy into tool usage and exposure risk.
This was achieved by more accurate calculation of exposure risk from the wearer’s tool trigger time and pre-defined tool vibration. The HAVwear also senses the wearer’s exposure to vibration to provide a unique insight into highlighting unexpected exposure levels. For example one worker had double the expected HAV exposure level compared to other workers undertaking the same work activity which was due to poor tool use. The system also identified a tool that was outputting far higher vibration than anticipated than other same tool types and the tool was subsequently disposed of.
Tim Witham, Health & Safety, Environmental Manager at Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company said “The system has exceeded our expectations and allowed us to confidently know the perceived and actual risk of Hand Arm Vibration exposure to our staff. The reporting suite is clear, dynamic and responsive, the customer service has been, so far, exemplary and the product has withstood some scrutiny from our peers and from a visit by the HSE”.