Hand-arm vibration management: an operational health and safety strategy framework

David John Edwards, Igor Martek, Obuks Ejohwomu, Clinton Aigbavboa, M. Reza Hosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Human 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/approach: A 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. Findings: The 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/value: This 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-830
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation
Volume39
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Case study and action research
  • Hand-arm vibration
  • Hand-arm vibration syndrome
  • Health and well-bring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction

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