For many years we have heard talk of "Vibration White Finger" which really came to light during the late 80's and early 90's when the UK Goverment had to set aside in excess of £100 million pounds for coalminers that suffered from the illness after operating drilling equipment for long periods of time. The modern term of HAVS (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome) now covers this ailment and it would appear to be on the increase for professional garden and grounds maintenance opperatives.....
If you work with any petrol powered garden machinery from Lawn Mowers to Chainsaws, on a regular basis then you need to protect yourself. If you are self employed (as many are in this line of work), you need to know what the Vibration Data is for the machinery you are operating. If this information is not readily available or quite simply does not exist then its time to look for newer / better equipment that not only provides the vibration data but is designed to reduce the vibration levels as much as possible without effecting the performance or build quality. Secondly it is highly recommended to wear protection where and when ever possible. Anti-Vibration Gloves can work wonders in reducing the effects of vibrating machinery and should be used, especially on cold days.
If you employ staff that use petrol powered tools such as Hedge Trimmers or Brushcutters on a regular basis it is imperative that you purchase equipment based on the Vibration Data and keep copies of this information along with proof of purchase in a safe place. This will enable you to prove (where necessary) that you have complied with your "Duty of Care" as an employer by providing the best equipment possible for each of your employees and create a safe working environment. See the following link to the HSE's Guide to Vibration at Work.
Stihl are industry leaders in commercial 2-stroke equipment and have models which feature the best anti-vibration systems on the market to make sure operatives can work for longer with less stress. Click the logo above to see the vibration data for all Stihl products including chainsaws and hedge cutters.
You can also download the MS EXCEL Stihl Hand / Arm Vibration Calculator to work out safe expossure duration to certain vibration levels.