With the HSE website highlighting that there are still 2million people in occupations at risk of this serious and debillitating injury it seems timely that BDA (British Drilling Association) remind the drilling sector of the risks. In their press release of 17 July 2017 the BDA have indicated their concerns over complacency in the industry.
Specifically, the BDA is urging the drilling sector to undertake written risk assessments related to rig operation, and specifically the use of vibrating hand tools. Additionally, the BDA suggests that operation of vibrating machinery and tools be monitored closely and that detailed records of exposure are maintained on file. Exposure in the drilling sector will most likely be linked to use of hand-held hydraulic and electric breakers used to get through hardstanding together with grinding and cutting equipment. Every piece of machinery is rated by manufacturers and suppliers so that daily allowable use can be determined.
Speaking about Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, Martyn Brocklesby, Vice Chair of the BDA, said: “Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, caused by exposure to vibration in the workplace, is extremely serious resulting in permanent injury, yet it is also preventable. The BDA is reminding its members and non-members of the on-going need to address this issue and to ensure the correct procedures, monitoring and long-term recording systems are in place to minimise risk”.
Martyn continued “Alternatives are available to using hydraulic or electric breakers, such as concrete coring or the use of excavator-mounted equipment, and we urge the drilling sector to consider their use where practical and feasible. Reducing exposure to vibrating equipment will reduce the number of injuries relating to their use and financially, will decrease the potential for injury claims in the future.”
For more detailed guidance, including good practice, regulations, and resources on the HSE Website (http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/index.htm). Advice specifically for employers including the legal limits set by The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/advicetoemployers/responsibilities.htm#make. The BDA also have a section of their website dedicated to safety issues affecting the drilling industry which can be found here.