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Hand-arm vibration management: an operational health and safety strategy framework
journal contributionposted on 2021-11-02, 00:00 authored by D J Edwards, Igor MartekIgor Martek, O Ejohwomu, C Aigbavboa, M. Reza HosseiniM. Reza Hosseini
PurposeHuman vibration exposure from hand-operated equipment emissions can lead to irreparable and debilitating hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). While work-place health and well-being (H&WB) policies, strategies and procedures have been extensively researched and documented, little has been done to develop a specific strategic framework tailored to the management of hand-arm vibration (HAV). This study fills that gap.Design/methodology/approachA mixed philosophical approach of interpretivism and critical realism is adopted within a case study of a utilities contractor. Within this overarching epistemological design, action research approach is implemented via a three-stage investigation, namely, relevant company H&WB documents and procedures were examined, leading to the formulation of semi-structured interview questioning of the H&WB team. Their responses informed the next line of questions, delivered to middle-management responsible for overseeing H&S.FindingsThe findings are instructive in revealing that while substantial documentation management (augmented with protocols and checks) was in place, the system fell short of implementation within the workforce and thus failed to preserve worker H&WB. The investigation generated recommendations for shoring up H&WB deficiencies observed and developed a theoretical model to represent these. Though these recommendations were developed in response to a specific case, they form the core of a HAV operational H&WB strategy framework with applicability over a broader context.Originality/valueThis research provides unique insight into contemporary industry practices employed to manage HAV in the workplace and represents an invaluable opportunity to learn from prevailing practices and rectify deficiencies observed.