Reactec system deployed to protect rail workers from vibration risk

Ewan McInnes blog

Reactec, the market leader in monitoring and management solutions for hand and arm vibration (HAV) announces that its HAVWEAR system is being used to help protect rail workers from vibration exposure.

Launched in January, the new HAVWEAR system is being trialled by the Rail Electrification Alliance (REAL), responsible for the delivery of Network Rail’s £237million East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade project, where it is being installed on all high powered tools across the project.

HAVWEAR is the wearable monitoring system designed to help prevent the incurable disease Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) – one of the most common industrial diseases in the UK. The condition is usually caused by the prolonged use of power hand tools, whose vibrations can damage the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm. There is no known cure for this disease, only prevention.

The HAVWEAR system is the first practical dosimeter technology worldwide to be worn by the tool user and features a wrist monitor, which is synchronised to a special tag on the piece of equipment to be used. If the vibrations from the equipment exceed guidelines set by the Health and Safety Executive, the wrist monitor emits a visible and audible warning for the operator to stop work.

With the support of the Reactec analytics platform software, the system also provides constant monitoring with automated reporting, to enable effective risk reduction. It is the only practical way to continuously measure actual vibration exposure, and eliminates the current practice of estimating workers’ risk levels.

Jacqui McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Reactec, said: “We are delighted to be working with Network Rail and the REAL Alliance on this significant project for the UK’s rail network. The HAVS condition is incurable so it’s essential that employers do everything they can to prevent this debilitating condition in their workforce.”

Commenting on the introduction of HAVWEAR across the East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade project, Ian Kilgour, Head of Safety for the REAL Alliance said: “The continued safety of our workforce is at the heart of all that we do. As such, we are always keen to explore, and where appropriate, adopt new systems to help deliver this objective.”