Cost-effective risk assessment of hand-arm vibration exposure

Edwards, David J. and Holt, Gary David (2010) Cost-effective risk assessment of hand-arm vibration exposure. Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, 15 (2). pp. 158-175. ISSN 1366-4387

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Purpose – As a tool to help compliance with relevant health and safety legislation, a cost-effective method of risk assessing construction workers' exposure to hand-arm vibration (HAV) is presented that allows larger numbers of workers to be evaluated, either as a stratified sample of a population or as a population where numbers are not prohibitive.

Design/methodology/approach – The method, developed and tested in the field with a national UK contractor, employs work study to collect exposure level data of workers undertaking real work and analyse these, to inform HAV management and risk control decisions.

Findings – The method benefits from economies of scale to efficiently risk assess large numbers of workers, without the need for specialist equipment or analysis software. It can be applied to sample strata defined by, for example, equipment used, types of work or classifications of worker.

Research limitations/implications – Results add to the growing body of academic knowledge relating to construction worker HAV exposure and its management.

Practical implications – The method can easily be moulded to suit any type of construction organisation and help control cost associated with HAV legislation compliance.

Social implications – Potential benefits of controlled HAV exposure include reduced incidence of (HAV induced) medical conditions and concomitant personal financial gains to society.

Originality/value – The method and context are novel. The methodology of work study and sampling in a broader sense are well established.

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