An important step to take in reducing vibration-related injuries is to use the very best equipment. The diamond drill is one tool that helps in this effort, as workers experience fewer shakes and bumps while drilling. An added benefit is less noise pollution and disruption to the surrounding environment.
Hand-arm and whole-body vibrations
Exposure to vibrations while using power tools and machines is a health hazard. The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 sets out rules and guidelines on this issue for employers and employees to follow in minimising the risk from prolonged vibration. There are two types of vibration exposure defined in the regulations:
- Hand-arm vibrations
- Whole-body vibrations
Hand-arm refers to vibrations experienced while using hand-held equipment such as power tools, while whole-body refers to vibrations experienced all over the body such as while driving a tractor. For reducing these risks, diamond drills offer a quieter and safer drilling choice that is less disruptive.
The dangers of prolonged exposure to vibrations
Regarding hand-arm vibrations, there are two types of conditions that workers may experience from regular exposure: carpal tunnel syndrome and hand-arm vibration syndrome.
Side-effects of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) include:
- Finger numbness and tingling, which can inhibit a person’s dexterity. Fine work such as putting together small components becomes difficult.
- Pale fingers that become painful, making it difficult to work in the cold.
Some symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) include:
- Weakness of the hands
- Numbness and tingling
The side-effects of HAVS and CTS can be persistent, depending on the length of exposure. Usually, two years of consistent exposure is enough to bring about symptoms that range from prolonged to permanent.
For workers who experience whole-body vibration regularly, risks such as persistent back pain can result from the jolts and shocks that come from this type of working environment.
By using diamond drills to carry out drill work, these dangers can be minimised due to the reduced vibrations experienced from using this type of tool.
Guidelines for protecting workers
To help protect workers, there are various guidelines put in place by the government for workplaces to follow.
The regulations are there to ensure the risks are minimised, employers and workers are provided with training and instructions, and health is monitored regularly.
For hand-arm and whole-body vibrations, details on the limits of exposure are set out in regulations to guide risk management. Hand-arm vibrations have the following exposure action and limit values:
- The action value for daily exposure (EAV) is 2.5m/s². Anything on or above this value requires risk management.
- An exposure limit value (ELV) of 5m/s² or above is not safe.
Whole-body vibrations also have action values and limits detailed in regulations.
- The EAV is 0.5m/s², meaning that anything on or above this value should trigger measures on an organisational and technical level with a view to reducing the levels.
- An ELV of 1.15m/s² should not be exceeded.
Reducing these values in the workplace requires certain changes such as using safer tools like the diamond drill that doesn’t vibrate as much as other drills, reducing the overall risk.
With Drilltec, you can benefit from our expert diamond drilling solutions. Using the latest machinery, we produce excellent results through high precision drilling on a range of materials, at the same time as being less disruptive and quieter. For more information, please contact us today.