WHAT IS HAVS?
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, known as HAVS or white finger is a disturbance to hand function caused by over exposure to vibration transmitted to the hand and arm from powered equipment. HAVS is a serious and debilitating condition that effects the blood vessels in the hand and arm, eventually resulting in irreversible damage if uncontrolled or monitored ineffectively.
Due to the increasing numbers of people suffering from HAVS in the UK, there is now an increased level of concern being generated by the HSE in relation to controlling vibration in the work place.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
There are an estimated 5 million exposed to vibration in the UK.*
2 million of whom are exposed to high levels*
50% of all reported Occupational industrial diseases are HAVS related*
300,000 suffering advanced stages**
(Source: * HSE **Medical Research Council)
WHAT ARE THE AFFECTS?
Vascular: relating to the circulatory system.
Continuous or prolonged over exposure to vibration transmitted through hand contact can, in time, damage the blood vessels local to the point of transmission. This can spread as the condition worsens.
Neurological: relating to the central and peripheral nervous system.
Nerve endings can incur damage, inhibiting the sufferer’s sense of touch and temperature.
Musculoskeletal: relating to or denoting the musculature and skeleton together.
As the condition progresses, tendons, muscles and bones either side of the tendons can become damaged.
The diagram below shows signs and symptoms to watch out for associated with HAVS: