New technology designed to help prevent the incurable industrial disease HAVS
Reactec, the market leader in monitoring and management solutions for hand and arm vibration (HAV) has today, 20 January 2016, launched a ground-breaking wearable monitoring system called HAVWEAR, to help prevent the incurable disease 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.
HAVWEAR is the first technology of its kind in the UK, to be worn by the tool user and, with the support of the Reactec analytics platform reporting software, provides constant monitoring with automated reporting, to indicate any exposure risk. The HAVS condition, also known as White Finger Syndrome, is the permanent disablement of hand functions which prevents sufferers from doing simple tasks such as turning the pages of a book, fastening buttons or picking up small items. There is no known cure for this disease, only prevention.
The HAVWEAR system has already secured its first major customers, including Speedy Services, Morgan Sindall and Murphy Group following pre-launch trials.
How it works:
The HAVWEAR equipment monitors the vibration experienced by wearers to educate and raise awareness of worker exposure when using tools and it reveals the tool operator’s personal exposure points and thresholds. Reactec’s system then provides reliable data analysis which is clear, concise and tailor-made to the business helping management to continuously reduce and design out the causes of workforce exposure to HAVS.
Each tool user has an individual module which is fitted onto a wrist strap. The HAVWEAR module has a screen indicating the vibration exposure and tool information. The module will give an audible alert and vibrate to indicate the exposure level for the individual to then take action. The Reactec system transmits all data to create cloud based reports in real time, instantly identifying employees at risk from exposure and the source to support risk reduction activities.
Jacqui McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Reactec, said:
“We are thrilled to launch our new wearable HAVWEAR system today. The HAVS condition is incurable so it’s essential that businesses do everything they can to prevent this debilitating condition in their workforce. Our new wearable technology can now become an essential part of today’s PPE kit for businesses in the construction and manufacturing sectors. By working in partnership with companies such as Morgan Sindall and Murphy Group, we are helping their business not only reduce the risk to their individual members of staff, but also to reduce any risk of litigation to the business. I would also like to thank the team at Berkeley Group who have part funded the development of HAVWEAR through their Innovation Fund.”
Commenting on the HAVs issue, Kim Boggins, an Occupational Health Nurse Specialist, said:
“As an Occupational Health practitioner I assess if employees have developed symptoms that could be associated with their use of vibrating tools. One of the more useful non-medical pieces of information to help practitioners determine issues associated with HAVS, is accurate information on employees’ exposure to vibration. However, obtaining this information can be challenging unless employers have implemented rigorous monitoring. Where employers can provide information on both daily and weekly vibration exposures and sources, it helps health assessments and provides a good starting point when advising employees and employers on controls to reduce declared symptoms.”
The product was successfully piloted with Kier, Scotland Transerv, Morgan Sindall and Glasgow City Council in 2015 to validate the durability and robustness of the new wearable kit.
Brian Hume, Health and Safety Manager for Scotland TranServ, said:
“We were pleased to trial the new HAVWEAR system which we felt would play a significant part in the work we do at Scotland TranServ. As a responsible employer, we want to ensure that our employees are not using power tools more than they should be and the Reactec system we trialled enabled employees to control their usage to help reduce their potential exposure to HAV. The feedback from our employees during the trial was positive and they were particularly pleased with the ease of the signing in/out process and saw it as part of their daily routine. We now hope to introduce the new system across the business.”
Jonathan Hall, Director of Plant for Morgan Sindall said:
“This new wearable technology from Reactec is very exciting for our business and we have received positive feedback when we recently trialled it with our employees. As one of the leading construction and regeneration businesses in the UK, we employ a large number of people and protecting their health is a top priority. We were pleased that there was a high level of collaboration with our employees during the trials of HAVWEAR as personal ownership is a key factor in the success of this product. We were also impressed with the ease of use of HAVWEAR, the monitoring results it produced and its cost effectiveness.”
Wendy Bates, Innovation & Client Experience Director from Speedy Services said:
“At Speedy we take the health of our customers very seriously and recognise that we have a role to play in offering the latest and most suitable products in the marketplace. HAVWEAR by Reactec is that kind of product, featuring prominently as part of our Intelligent Safety programme. The new technology is an exciting innovation that is cost effective, easy to use and easy to manage; HAVWEAR provides a simple solution to a complex problem and we believe that use of this product will have a significant impact on protecting health and mitigating the risks associated with HAV.”
Recent stats by the HSE state that 10% of employees exposed at the HSE 100 points level will contract HAVs within 12 years or within 6 years if exposed to 408 points. (source: HSE 2015)