Magenta Living choose R-Link to protect specialist maintenance teams
With the management of over 13,000 properties, Magenta Living is the one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the North-West of England.
The not-for-profit organisation employs over 180 maintenance technicians who undertake a variety of repairs and refurbishments to ensure that a roof is kept over the heads of their valued customers.
Specialist maintenance teams use a broad range of hand-held power tools, during planned or responsive repairs, across, on average, 10-15 properties per day. Due to the dynamic nature of this operating environment, maintenance technicians at Magenta Living are at risk of unpredictable levels of vibration exposure.
The Health and Safety team at Magenta Living took time out to talk about how they're using Reactec’s HAV monitoring system to responded to the challenges of managing hand-arm vibration (HAV).
Raising awareness about the risk of exposure to vibration
Sean Connolly, Health & Safety Business Partner, at Magenta Living said: “our biggest challenges were accurately monitoring hand-arm vibration and raising awareness about the risks of over exposure.”
Sean explained that: “it’s all very well that Health and Safety, or Senior Management are aware of the risks to exposure to vibration, but it was very important to pass that knowledge onto the technicians using the tools“.
In previous years, Magenta Living would perform risk assessments and deliver tool-box talks to manage the risk of exposure to vibration at work, but on their own, those measures were not enough to ensure the levels of risk were being adequately controlled.
Andy Birchall, Health & Safety Advisor at Magenta Living explained: “we can write a risk-assessment, but without any accurate data, it’s difficult to determine if workers are really being protected and that the company is managing the risk adequately”.
Reactec's Hand-arm Vibration Monitoring System:
Magenta Living sought to find new technology to ensure they were fully compliant with the Control of Vibration at Work Act (2005) by managing exposure to vibration as low as reasonably practical.
“The Property Care Director and I were aware that a large UK infrastructure and construction company were using Reactec’s hand-arm vibration monitoring system, and so we moved to adopt a similar approach at our earliest opportunity” said Sean.
We initially rolled out Reactec’s wearable HAVWEAR device to manage hand-arm vibration for our maintenance teams, and have now upgraded to the new R-Link smart watch.
R-Link is the successor to Reactec’s trusted HAVWEAR device which offers an intuitive user interface and more detailed tooling information on the watch face.
“It was important to get everyone onboard and buy-in to using the technology from the outset and how Reactec helped deliver training during rollout was excellent”.
A Cultural Shift:
Sean commented: “Reactec trained the Property Care Management Team on how to use the watch and review the exposure data within the Reactec Analytics platform”.
“Since then, Reactec’s HAV monitoring system has become embedded across all aspects of Magenta Living’s health and safety practices”, said Andrew.
“Property Care have introduced a HAVS Surveillance Monitoring Programme which will eventually include all technicians across the business. This is prioritised on a risk-based approach. Technicians are then trained on how to use R-Link through a series of Reactec training videos and materials”.
Sean added: “we actually developed an in-house mobile app for our maintenance technicians which stores R-Link training videos, in addition to our risk assessments, toolbox talks and HAVS calculation table.”
Andy explained that once staff realised that the watch was simple to use, and ultimately for their protection, they felt reassured that they were being taken care of by the company.
Andy continued: “the technology has even changed the mindset of long-serving staff, who were sceptical at first, but now use the watch to consider which combination of tools are most appropriate for the work“.
The Property Care Management Team also review vibration exposure data in Reactec Analytics on a regular basis, and together with the health and safety team, Magenta Living has developed a list of interventions to use once a technician is reaching the exposure action value.
Andy explained: “we’ve created an aid memoir of around 30 interventions from which the management team can choose from. These interventions can include tool training, switching-out, or even replacing high-usage tools. In situations of persistent breaches. the team have also resorted to with-drawing tools from technicians on a permanent basis for their protection”.
“Overall, our account is in a really good place, and we have regular reviews with Reactec to ensure that we are using the Analytics software and new technologies like R-Link to their full potential.
“Reactec’s HAV monitoring technology has created a cultural-shift within our company, and tools like R-Link have become the best defence in our HSE armoury for managing exposure to vibration at work”.