Here we look at the risks to construction workers from hand-held power tools and examine how printed high vibration warning cable ties can help employers meet their legal obligations in the workplace.
Construction workers are often at risk of serious medical conditions when facing repeated and/or prolonged exposure to excessive levels of vibration. These conditions include RSI (repetitive strain injury), HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What is HAVS?
Hand-arm vibration syndrome is caused when hand-arm vibration from using hand-held power tools and equipment is transmitted into your hands and arms. HAVS attacks the nerves, blood vessels, muscles and joints in the hands, wrists and arms and, if left unchecked, can be severely disabling. HAVS also includes vibration white finger, a long-term condition causing numbness and tingling in the fingers and blanching or whitening of the fingertips.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
This is a disorder of the nerves involving tingling, numbness and weakening in the hands. Early signs to be aware of are:
Difficulty picking up small items e.g. nails and screws
Tingling and/or numbness in the fingers
Loss of manual strength
In wet and cold conditions, fingertips may go from red to white and be painful when recovering
Loss of feeling in your fingers
What is RSI?
Repetitive strain injury is pain in muscles, tendons and nerves caused by repetitive use of, for example, vibrating equipment, when it will affect wrists and hands. Symptoms worsen over time and include:
Pain or tenderness
Tingling and weakness
Stiffness and throbbing
Am I at risk of HAVS?
Anyone who regularly works with power tools and machinery that are hand-held or guided by hand, can be at risk. Machinery and tools include:
Power hammers, hammer drills and road drills
Hand-held power drills
Lawnmowers and strimmers
Concrete breakers and concrete pokers
Sanders, grinders, and disc cutters
What is the traffic light colour-coding system?
The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) collaborated with the Construction Confederation & Hire Association to develop a three-tier system of colour coding to differentiate between the risks from tools and equipment. Following the traffic light principle, the system is:
RED indicates high vibration risk tools over 5m/s²
ORANGE represents equipment and tools between 5-10m/s² that can be used for up to two hours before reaching vibration ELV (exposure limit value)
GREEN is for low vibration risk equipment below 5m/s² that can be used intermittently throughout an 8-hour shift with little risk
Printed high vibration warning cable ties
At cableties-online.co.uk we supply durable and flexible high vibration warning cable ties. Available in the industry approved colours of green, orange and red, the ties are custom printed as follows:
WARNING – LOW VIBRATION TOOL - BELOW 5 M/S2 - (Green)
WARNING – MEDIUM VIBRATION TOOL - 5-10 M/S2 - (Orange)
WARNING – HIGH VIBRATION TOOL - ABOVE 10 M/S2 - (Red)
The nylon 6/6 cable ties attach easily to tools and equipment without the need for additional fixings and are a cost effective and long-lasting way for employers and workers to recognise and identify tools that should not be used for prolonged periods of time.
When used in conjunction with usual risk assessments, our high vibration warning cable ties will help employers meet their legal obligations as set out in The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. Our full range can be viewed here.