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Hand-arm vibration, take control of the risks

Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) Prevention in the Workplace

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What is hand-arm vibration?

Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is a industrial injury that is caused by continuous exposure to vibrations from hand held tools or machinery such as grinders, disc sanders, random orbital sanders etc. Prolonged exposure to vibration transmitted from tools to the body can damage the blood vessels, nerves and tendons in the fingers, hand and wrist. Vibration related injuries can leave the sufferer with reduced sensitivity, strength and dexterity. Once these conditions take hold, they are irreversible.

  • Health and Safety eBook

    HAV prevention

    The Health and Safety Executive has brought in legislation called 'The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005', which came into force on 6 July 2006. These regulations introduce actions and limit values for hand-arm vibration. Companies are encouraged to find ways to eliminate, reduce or substitute tasks involving high levels of vibration. Careful selection of working methods, tools and consumables can significantly reduce the levels of vibration.

    Tools selection and design is important, they should be of the appropriate size and power for the task. Selecting the right abrasive product also helps towards reducing the level of time an operator is exposed to the tools. High-performance abrasives that have a high cut rate enables workers to complete task faster whilst using less pressure will help reduce risks.

  • How 3M products can help to reduce hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)

    3M™ Cubitron™ II abrasives work up to twice as fast as conventional alternatives. The smooth cutting action requires less operator pressure, and completing the job faster enabled by the faster cutting abrasive will lead to reduced operator time on the tool. The power of 3M Precision Shaped Ceramic Grain means a conventional bonded wheel can be replaced with a 3M™ Cubitron™ II fibre disc, even on tough jobs like weld removal, this switch of abrasive wheel to a less rigid construction of a fibre disc can also help reduce vibration exposure.

  • Bombardier is using 3M technology to improve site safety and productivity.

    3M has been working closely with Bombardier at their Ilford heavy maintenance services site to help them strike an effective balance between a safe working environment and optimum levels of productivity.

    A particular area of focus for Bombardier has been to reduce hand-arm vibration, as many of the maintenance and repair staff regularly use hand grinding, drilling, sanding, polishing and spraying tools. “We set the maximum exposure limit to hand‑arm vibration at just a quarter of the limit recommended by the Health and Safety Executive,” explains Colin McCann. “Although this protects our staff it also means that we need to be as productive as possible when using this type of equipment. That’s where 3M is able to step in.” Bombardier use 3M™ Cubitron™ II Bonded Abrasive Grinding and Cut-off Wheels and 3M's Random Orbital Sanders.

    Learn more on how 3M are working with Bombardier, click here


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Workplace Hazards

  • How can I increase elements of respiratory protection?

    Dust exposure from abrasive processes can trigger inflammation, allergic reactions and respiratory problems

    Find out how 3M™ Cubitron™ II technology can help reduce exposure to airborne dust.

    Dust and respiratory issues

  • What can I do to improve noise protection in the workplace?

    The selection of abrasive tools, products and systems have a significant impact on the noise generated when operating tools.

    Switching abrasive products can be one way to help reduce abrasive noise levels.

    Noise protection

  • How can I reduce injury hazards in the workplace?

    Working with abrasive equipment can cause injury by direct or indirect contact. Always use machine guards, use the right product for the application, ensure the abrasive is fitted correctly and wear appropriate PPE.

    Faster cutting and cooler running abrasives that require less operator pressure can help towards a safer workplace.

    Injury protection


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Hand-arm vibration resources:

  • E-Book
    Abrasives Health and Safety eBook

    Download our eBook today for insights into managing workplace hazards.

    Download eBook

    Dec 1, 1901
  • Case Study
    Bombardier Case Study

    Learn how 3M is helping to deliver safety and productivity at Bombardier

    Access Case Study

    Dec 1, 1901
  • Posters
    Using Abrasives Safety Posters

    Keep your workers up to speed on safety with our informative posters

    Download Posters

    Dec 1, 1901
  • Abrasive Safety Assessment Guide
    Abrasive Safety Assessment Guide

    Download our abrasive safety assessment guide today for insights on how 3M™ Cubitron™ II hand-held abrasives could help reduce exposure to the risks from hand-arm vibration, airborne particles and noise.

    Download Guide

    Dec 1, 1901

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Cubitron™ II abrasives products


Need help finding the right abrasive product?

Get in touch with a 3M expert

We are interested in helping you decide which industrial abrasive products work best for your application. A 3M abrasive expert will contact you to ensure you're getting the product you need to get your job done right.

If you would like to speak to us about product and technical support questions, please call 0870 504 8772 or email abrasives.uk@mmm.com

If you would like to speak to us about product and technical support questions, please call 0870 504 8772 or email abrasives.uk@mmm.com

To learn more on how to maximise safety in your workplace, click here.

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