HAVS monitoring gets the thumbs up from the Howard Civil Engineering team.

Dylan MacdonaldGeneral News

Operatives in three of Howard Civil Engineering’s sites across the north of England have had their risk of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) significantly reduced after the business introduced HAVS monitoring smart watches from workplace health risk prevention experts, Reactec.

Launched in August 2022, Reactec’s third-generation workplace wearable, R-Link®, monitors hand arm vibration exposure and provides real-time alerts to notify workers when they are close to exceeding their time operating power tools.

Reactec’s analytical platform provides cloud-based reporting which allows dynamic risk assessment and exposure reduction. For example, the team will be able to identify if a piece of equipment is faulty and if it emits more or fewer vibrations than the manufacturer states, enhancing the operatives’ safety while ensuring a quality product for clients.

Operatives on site in Sunderland were the first to receive their new R-Link smart watches in November, followed by teams at Scarborough Hospital and The New Prison, Full Sutton.

Howard Civil Engineering’s SHEQ manager Andy Rafton commented: “Although legislation states we don’t need to continually monitor our operatives’ hand arm vibration, Howard Civil Engineering recognises it has a duty of care to our employees. We have initially introduced these watches across three of our largest sites, but we are hoping to use these across every site in the near future.

“Not only will these watches significantly reduce the risk of our operatives developing HAVS, the cloud-based software means the entire system is completely online – meaning it is in accordance with our long-term goal of becoming a paperless company.”

Commenting on R-Link, Jacqui McLaughlin, CEO of Reactec said: “We are very pleased to support Howard Civil Engineering with their workplace health and safety priorities. By using our latest R-Link technology, Howard Civil Engineering will gain from Reactec’s 20 years of experience in preventing HAVS while being ready for the added functionality this latest generation of technology can offer, such as exclusion zone alerts.

“HAVS remains one of the most common diseases in the industry with no cure. Only through active prevention can we ensure that this is addressed.”

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, which is also known as Vibration White Finger, is one of the most common industrial diseases in the UK. The condition is usually caused by the prolonged use of power tools, whose vibrations can damage the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist, and arm. Around 300,000 people in the UK suffer from the condition, for which there is no known cure.

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