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Mirka's Innovative Approach to Combat Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) in the Workplace

Combat Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

When looking to invest in new sanding equipment, ergonomics is a critical factor users should consider when making their decision. Mirka is committed to user wellbeing, actively aiming to reduce the health risks associated with sanding. Mirka is also recognised for dust-free sanding solutions, but we also prioritise ergonomics when developing tools.

HAVS is a painful condition affecting the hands and arms due to prolonged exposure to the vibrations of hand-held power tools. HAVS often goes unnoticed until it's too late. Recognising the significance of prevention, we've undertaken extensive research to develop tools that reduce the risk of HAVS and offer real-time monitoring through our ground-breaking myMirka App.

Our commitment to safety began with the upgrade of our Mirka® DEROS in 2016, incorporating cutting-edge technology to safeguard users from HAVS and white finger syndrome. This commitment extends across our entire range, including all 230v electric sanders and cordless tools, which now feature an integrated vibration sensor.

The myMirka App stands as a testament to our dedication to user safety. Technicians now have the power to monitor vibration, speed, and tool usage in real-time, all at their fingertips. 

Our electric tools, equipped with an integrated vibration sensor and Bluetooth technology, provide a comprehensive solution to combat HAVS. The myMirka App measures and displays momentary vibrations and offers valuable advice on reducing vibrations if they exceed safe levels. The app's intuitive gauge changes colour, turning yellow and then red, providing a visual indication of exposure levels according to European directives.

Mirka has always been a trailblazer in health and safety, pioneering dustless sanding and continually leading in research and development. Our R&D centre in Finland is a hub of innovation, focusing on studying vibrations, ergonomic designs, and alternative technologies to manage and reduce the impact of vibrations on users.

If vibration exceeds the exposure action value (2.5 m/s2 ), the employer is legally required to act to reduce the exposure. The employer must not allow exposures to exceed the exposure limit value (5 m/s2 ). Hand-arm vibration meters worn by the user are the most accurate way of determining the level of vibration experienced when a tool is being used and measuring the cumulative exposure to that vibration.

Checklist When Machine Sanding

If a job must be done with vibrating tools, HSE (UK) recommends that workers take the following measures:

• Ask to use suitable low-vibration tools.
Always use the right tool for each job (to do the job more quickly and expose you to less hand-arm vibration).
• Check tools before using them to make sure they have been properly maintained and repaired to avoid increased vibration caused by faults or general wear.
• Reduce the amount of time you use a tool in one go, by doing other jobs in between.
• Avoid gripping or forcing a tool or workpiece more than you have to.
• Store tools so that they do not have very cold handles when next used.
• Encourage good blood circulation by keeping warm and dry (when necessary, wear gloves, a hat, waterproofs and use heating pads if available)
• Giving up or cutting down on smoking because smoking reduces blood flow.
• Massaging and exercising your fingers during work breaks.

What are the benefits of reducing or minimising sanding-related risks?

Simply put, looking after your wellbeing and eliminating or reducing the risks of HAVS means less downtime due to injury and recovery and healthier workers. For the small company owner, the implications of injury can have serious consequences.

On a larger scale, healthier and more productive employees make work easier for their supervisors and employers. In larger companies, this translates into a happier workforce, a more profitable company, and happy shareholders.

Mirka's commitment to safety, innovation, and user wellbeing sets a new standard in the industry. Our mission is to address current health risks and to actively contribute to preventing future cases of HAVS. As businesses prioritise the welfare of their technicians, Mirka stands as a trusted partner in the fight against Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. Together, let's create safer and healthier workplaces.

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