Every year Network rail employees are diagnosed with new or worsening HAVS. As you know HAVS is a permanent and potentially disabling condition that is entirely preventable. As a line manager, you can assist in ensuring risks from vibration in the workplace are controlled and provide information to employees about risks. This will allow us as an organisation to meet The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005). The aim of our HAVS management programme is to eliminate vibration exposure totally however this will take time to achieve as engineers work to mechanise tasks that currently are done manually. In the meantime we need to work to reduce vibration exposure to as low as possible and prevent employees from developing HAVS or symptoms worsening for those who already have it.
As a manager your responsibilities are:
- to know which of your employees are at risk
- to provide information to employees
- to keep records of each employees exposure
- to ensure control measures are in place
- to plan tasks to eliminate or reduce exposure
- to ensure employees take part in health surveillance
- to investigate when a new or worsening case of HAVS is identified
A risk assessment for vibration should be available for any task involving the use of vibrating tools.
You will need to identify which jobs are more at risk, which will generally include those which involve regular and frequent exposure to tools with high levels of vibration. These are typically grinders, impact drills, sanders, polishers and other such hand-held tools. When assessing these, take into consideration how old the tools are and whether they have been maintained on a regular basis. Information on vibration emissions and risks are available within the Equipment Vibration and Noise Datasheet. Every employee should have a vibration exposure record detailing the tool they used, for how long, and how much exposure they had for every shift. It is essential that the employee not only knows this information but understands what it means, what exposure limits are and how this will impact their work.