A monitoring system developed in collaboration with an Edinburgh-based firm is aiming to improve health and safety in heavy industries.
Reactec, which provides monitors and devices to help prevent hand arm vibration (HAV) caused by exposure to power tool use, has teamed up with software consultancy CoreRFID to create an automated tracking and reporting tool which it claims will “make a real difference” when it comes to reducing health and legal risks.
Using radio-frequency identification technology, the software automatically collects data and allows workers on-site to monitor the effect power tool use is having on their bodies in real-time.
The software links with Reactec’s products, which include its HAVwear wearable technology, which is worn like a wrist watch, and tool-mounted devices, to manage exposure to HAV and improve protection for employees.
It also uses bespoke tool-tagging technology designed by CoreRFID, which created tags with a larger-than-standard antenna to cope with the transmission and reception problems often found when working near vibrating and electrical tools.
Reactec’s products have been deployed in the construction, automotive, marine, energy and utilities sectors. The Edinburgh firm has more than 550 customers and its products are used by a number of private and public organisations in the UK, including British Airways and Siemens.
Chief executive Jacqui McLaughlin said: “The solution we’ve developed with the support of CoreRFID will make a real difference for businesses seeking to reduce health and legal risks.”
Leif Anderson, chief technology officer, added: “The technology used in the HAVwear is unique and robust. It offers a reliable and easy to use system to monitor levels of vibration exposure in some of the most demanding industry environments with informative analytics to drive risk reduction controls.”
HAV is caused by vibrations from power hand tools, which damage the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm.
The Health and Safety Executive reports that British industry is faced with more than 3,000 litigation claims annually for industrial injury as a result of vibration-related diseases and estimates that around two million UK workers are at risk.
CoreRFID technical director Munzi Ali said: “British workers exposed to high levels of vibration can develop conditions such as ‘vibration white finger’ and carpal tunnel syndrome.
“Our collaboration with Reactec has produced a tool which can make a real and positive difference to reducing the health risk for workers and in turn employers.”