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New HAVS initiatives from Speedy

Speedy – the UK’s largest equipment and support services provider – is renewing its focus on Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) with the launch of a number of new initiatives designed to limit workers’ exposure and cut the number of cases reported each year.

At the centre of the drive is a new system – the HAVmeter – which monitors individuals’ exposure to Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) and can be magnetically attached to almost any hand-held tool. The device, developed by Reactec, alerts operatives in real-time when they have reached their daily limit.

Each operator carries a pager-sized device which is swiped in and out at the beginning and end of a day’s shift. The device is attached to each of the vibrating tools used by the operator that day, keeping a log of their exposure to HAV.

The data can then be downloaded at the end of the shift, enabling employers to actively manage individual HAV exposure while avoiding the time-consuming and potentially inaccurate process of individuals keeping a record of their own work.

Balfour Beatty is one of Speedy’s first customers to take the system on hire as part of the company’s commitment to HAV management best practice.

Brian Hume, health and safety manager for Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering said: “The HAVmeter is straightforward to use and requires minimal management.

“It allows a clear assessment of workforce exposure in line with legislation and HSE guidance, keeping accurate records of exposure times and advising the workforce of their exposure to HAV in HSE points.

“This is a major step forward in our drive for zero ill health issues for the workforce. We have already employed the HAVmeter on work we are undertaking on the Interlink M74 JV and are seeing some good results in terms of HAV management.”

To help customers choose the best equipment for reducing exposure to HAV, Speedy has also launched a tool selector guide.

The products, which have been grouped together in an easy-to use guide, range from floor saws and gas nailers to disc cutters and hand drills. All of the tools are either low in vibration or highly efficient and have been selected following close collaboration with the company’s key suppliers.

Three years ago, Speedy launched the ‘Get a Grip’ campaign to raise awareness of HAV – the largest ever initiative to tackle this issue. To date, hundreds of talks have been held on building sites across the UK to help workers at risk identify ways of reducing their exposure.

Mark Turnbull, safety health environment and quality director at Speedy said: “HAV remains a key health and safety concern. We know that the risks can be reduced, or even eliminated, by controlling exposure levels – which is why we feel it is vital that the construction industry continues to champion this issue.

“Since 2005 all of our products have been vibration tested through the Off-highway Plant and Equipment Research Centre (OPERC) and we have stopped working with any manufacturer who has refused to support this.

“As a group we have made significant advances in our health and safety measures through our award winning Safety from the Ground Up awareness campaign and through continual investment in new equipment.”

For further information on HAV or toolbox talks, call Speedy on 0845 601 5129.