The use of anti-vibration gloves can help prevent the debilitating effects of HAVS.
However, like all PPE, anti-vibration gloves are not purchased either because the management sees no point in purchasing approved gear, or is misled by suppliers into using the wrong type of gloves.
Using the wrong gloves could expose the worker to developing HAVS signs such as temporary tingling or numbness in the fingers; blanched fingertips in cold and/or wet conditions; and loss of grip strength in the hands.
Ignoring these signs can lead to more serious and long-lasting or irreversible problems including permanent numbness of fingertips or parts of the hands; difficulty in handling small items; painful vibration white finger in multiple fingers; carpal tunnel syndrome; and necrosis in extreme cases.
Companies can however, achieve the best outcome in selecting approved anti-vibration gloves by asking for a copy of the approval for full finger gloves; making sure the supplier nominates the approval on the invoice and describes the gloves as ‘Anti-Vibration’ if that’s what they are approved for; and informing the supplier exactly what the gloves are needed for, i.e. jack hammering, chain sawing, whipper snipping, grinding or driving forklifts, trucks, buses or heavy equipment, and getting them to recommend the most suitable glove for a specific task.
Companies should also be aware that exposure to vibration and impacts are totally different. While one can use anti-vibration gloves against impact to the hands, they cannot use impact gloves for protection against vibration.
HAVS can be prevented by using the correct (and low-vibration) tools for the job at hand; avoiding over-gripping of tools by using correctly-sized gloves to permit maximum flexibility of the hands; avoiding the use of cold tools or working with cold hands by wearing warm, waterproof gloves and keeping the body warm; cutting down or quitting smoking to help better blood circulation; and taking breaks and performing different tasks occasionally to reduce extended use of power tools.