Protecting Workers from Hand-Arm Vibration Hazards in the Workplace
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds employers of the need to protect all workers from occupational vibration hazards.
Lansing, MI, November 19th, 2018 -- Hand-Arm Vibrations (HAVs) are a common occupational hazard for millions of workers across the globe. In the United States alone, the U.S. Navy Safety Center reports that approximately 2.5 million workers are exposed daily to HAVs from the power tools they use on the job.
Workers regularly exposed to HAVs can develop a condition known as vibration syndrome or Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). This can be an all-too-common workplace issue and the U.S. Navy Safety Center also states that “documented workplace prevalence of HAVS ranges from 20-50% in the U.S. for power tool users depending on the tools used, daily vibration exposure levels, work practices, etc.”
According to an Intelligence Bulletin from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “Vibration syndrome has adverse circulatory and neural effects in the fingers. The signs and symptoms include numbness, pain, and blanching (turning pale and ashen). Of particular concern is evidence of advanced stages of vibration syndrome after exposures as short as one year. NIOSH recommends that jobs be redesigned to minimize the use of vibrating handtools and that powered handtools be redesigned to minimize vibration. Where jobs cannot be redesigned to eliminate vibrating tools such as pneumatic hammers, gasoline chain saws, and other powered handtools, engineering controls, work practices, and administrative controls should be employed to minimize exposure.”
“Whether workers are being exposed to hand-arm vibrations or whole-body vibrations, it has been documented since the early 20th century that exposure to vibrations can cause injuries,” said Jeffrey Miller, PhD, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “Working tirelessly to protect workers from vibration hazards and other occupational health and safety issues are Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs). CIHs help private employers, institutions, and government agencies identify common sources of vibrations when performing workplace risk assessments, exposure assessments, and monitoring. Other core competencies of knowledge possessed by CIHs that can be instrumental for resolving vibration issues include ergonomics, work environments, and industrial processes. These dedicated professionals are trained to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control environmental stressors, including vibration hazards, in or arising from the workplace.”
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, the Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential, or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org or email abih@ABIH.org. For information about the Qualified Environmental Practitioner (QEP®) credential or Environmental Professional In-Training (EPI) designation, visit www.IPEP.org or email ipep@IPEP.org. Please call (517) 321-2638 for questions about ABIH or its credentials and designations.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®
Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world's largest organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is the premier credentialing body responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance, and ethics enforcement. ABIH® also administers the Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP®) credential for established environmental practitioners and the Environmental Professional In-Training (EPI) designation for early-career practitioners. Currently, more than 7,600 people around the world hold the CIH® credential, QEP® credential, or EPI designation.