HSQE: Vibration Testing on Machinery
Last month, HSQE Manager Roger Barron travelled the country; from St Andrews to Wembley visiting teams across grounds maintenance, network rail and construction to carry out hand arm/whole body vibration and noise testing on a range of machinery that is used on a day-to-day basis by our teams.
Roger explained; “Using a clever piece of equipment from one of our suppliers has enabled me to undertake significant testing on a number of machines and collate real time data which shows how long an individual can safely use a machine or item of equipment. In conjunction with this, I also carried out noise monitoring and output levels which will help in deciding what level of ear protection is required.”
Vibration White Finger (VWF) has been the most commonly prescribed disease under the Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit (IIDB) scheme for the last ten years however, the number of new cases of VWF has fallen significantly over that period.
“Given this reduction, it is imperative that we proactively monitor ‘trigger time’ and discuss the use of machinery with our operators and the safe limits of use on a regular basis.”
Sufferers from VWF may have a permanent loss of sensation in their fingers, causing difficulty in picking up and manipulating small objects. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may have other occupational causes, such as repetitive twisting or gripping movements of the hand.
Other disorders may also be caused by vibration. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is thought to arise in part from entrapment or compression of nerves in the wrist which could stem from vibration. CTS caused by hand-held vibrating tools was made a prescribed disease from April 1993.
Roger added, “I would like to thank all the Managers and teams for their participation in this monitoring exercise and the results once published will make a real difference in our day to day working environment.”