Power tools such as pneumatic grinders and impact wrenches are key to enhancing productivity in industrial and vehicle service applications, but they need to be used properly and safely to ensure that operator wellbeing is not compromised. Chicago Pneumatic, a leading manufacturer of power tools for more than 110 years, offers free advice online to help its customers work smarter and safer.
As part of its employee wellbeing series, Chicago Pneumatic is encouraging power tool users to get tough on the causes of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). HAVS is a known risk for anyone who is regularly exposed to mechanical vibration. Prolonged exposure results in damage to blood vessels and nerves in the fingers, hand and arm; with symptoms ranging from loss of feeling or tingling to permanent numbness and disability. All frequent users of power tools that vibrate during usage have the potential to develop HAVS unless they protect themselves from exposure.
“Operator wellbeing is a key driver for Chicago Pneumatic,” says Eva Marie, the company’s global brand communications manager. “As a leading manufacturer of air power tools, we invest heavily in developing new designs and testing our products to help reduce factors like vibration; but we also believe it is very important to help our customers by sharing best practice. HAVS can result in irreversible, life-changing damage – but it is an entirely preventable condition. Our latest advice aims to reduce the risk of HAVS in the workplace by sharing some simple ways in which operators can protect themselves and their colleagues from excessive exposure to vibration.”
Hand Held Tools: Protect Your Employees includes information about HAVS and its causes as well as a seven-point plan to reducing risk. Tips include taking time to try out different tools for levels of vibration, as well as making sure that the right tool is being used for the job in hand. This is particularly important as HAVS is directly related to the amount of time an operator is exposed to vibration; so using a stronger, more efficient tool that reduces trigger time is a positive way of protecting yourself.
There are also tips on how to schedule workload according to the likelihood of exposure. For example, an application that gives 20 m/s² of vibration to the operator’s hands will result in a safe exposure limit being reached after only 8 minutes. The operator therefore needs to take breaks at regular intervals to make sure that these limits are not exceeded. This does not necessarily mean downing tools altogether: simply that they should be scheduled to undertake different tasks which do not involve vibration in rotation with tasks where vibration exposure is unavoidable.
To access Hand Held Tools: Protect Your Employees in full, please visit the Chicago Pneumatic blog.
For general information about the company and its range of products, please visit: www.cp.com.