Raynaud’s Awareness Month 2024
Given that February is the national Raynaud’s Awareness Month 2024
(https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/raynauds-awareness-month-2024/) dedicated to raising awareness of Raynaud’s Syndrome and the effects it can have, we want to reiterate the significance of appropriately managing the risks of Raynaud’s and HAVS in your organisation and eliminate the potential human toll of any mismanagement.
HAVS-related health conditions are irreversible and typically affect fingers, hands and arms. This can range from white fingers, tingling and a loss of circulation and sensation, through to diagnosed HAVS (a secondary form of Raynaud’s Phenomenon) and into Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Dupuytren’s Contracture.
The impact of these permanent conditions affects the daily routines of people and in many cases the victims are workers with a young family. This means not only do their personal daily tasks become a painful minefield to navigate, but their interaction with their children and family becomes restricted and frustrating.
Can you imagine not being able to do the zip up on your trousers or fasten your shoelaces? Or find it too painful to do the washing up? Or, worst of all, not be able to play with your children or grandchildren because you can’t pick up the small toys they want you to play with? I think we would all agree that this is too high a price to pay for using vibrating hand tools without the risk being managed in line with the legal requirements – I’m sure no one chooses to be that employer!
What are the Symptoms of Raynaud’s
- Cold fingers and toes
- Colour changes in the skin in response to temperature changes or stress
- Colour changes in the affected area to white, then blue/purple and then red
- Numbness, tingling or pain in the fingers and toes
- Stinging or throbbing pain upon warming or stress relief these symptoms can last for minutes, or even up to several hours and can be very painful.
Early signs of Raynaud’s are generally when you are subjected to extreme reactions to the cold or any slight change in temperature; the extremities change colour and can be extremely painful. Initially one or two fingers may turn white and feel numb. This can occur occasionally or regularly with all the fingers eventually becoming involved. It can be concerning at first, especially if the fingers then change to a bluish colour followed by bright red. These symptoms are a normal part of the condition, it is also worth noting not all symptoms are the same for any two people, but in all accounts, when the circulation returns, the usual colour of your hands/feet is restored.
How can you control the risks with your business?
Whenever there is exposure to hand-arm vibration exceeding the EAV (Exposure Action Value), it is essential to seek alternative processes, equipment, or work methods that can either eliminate or reduce this exposure or minimise the duration of exposure.
Whenever feasible, you should implement measures to mitigate vibration risks that are reasonably achievable. However, in cases where vibration exposures remain below the Exposure Action Values (EAV), the associated risks are generally low, and you are only expected to undertake cost-effective and straightforward actions.
If your assessment indicates that your employees are likely to be exposed at or above the Exposure Action Values, it is imperative to establish a structured program for vibration control.
If you would like to find out more about Controlling The Risks, click here https://www.havspro.com/controlling-the-risks-from-hand-arm-vibration/