Working with vibrating tools exposes workers to some potential diseases. More and more studies tend to find a correlation between duration of exposure, level or intensity of the vibration and the probability to develop a disease. This topic generally referred to, in the medical literature, as HAV: Hand Arm Vibration.
Briefly, from a medical stand point, we are aware that continuous exposure to excessive vibration will result in constriction of blood vessels in the hands and arms, thus reducing or cutting off blood supply to fingers and hands. The reduction in blood supply will cause numbness, blanching and tingling effects.
HAVS may also have a neurological component, with impaired function of the nerves of the upper limb producing symptoms similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. There may also be a musculoskeletal component resulting in joint stiffness in the hands and wrists.
The amount of damage to the blood vessels is proportional to the duration of the exposure and the intensity of the vibration. The process is slow and cumulative. Once the condition has arisen, continued hazardous vibration exposure increases the risk of permanent injury and significant loss of hand functions.
Many countries are becoming increasingly concerned about regulating the use of vibrating tools. There is still much to achieve when it comes down to studies, laws and standardization of the acceptable levels as well as tools testing. UK is a leader in terms of studying and regulating the use of vibrating tool in the workplace.
On the next figure you will find typical levels of vibration for different tools often found on construction job sites. The graph below is used to illustrate the maximum amount of time per day a worker can be exposed to a specific level of vibration. As an example, according to this graph, the average Jackhammer should not be used for more than 40 minutes a day by a single user.
The ELV and EAV stand for Exposure Limit Value and Exposure Action Value.
Using the PAM significantly reduces vibrations, as identified on the graph the vibrations generated by a rivet buster are damped to levels between 2.1 and 2.6 m/s2. (Tests conducted to ISO 20643, ISO 8662-5 and ISO 5349-1standards)
This translates into a worker safely using a jackhammer for a full 8 hours shift every day.
Also, not much studies have been done when it comes down to establish a relationship between the gripping force on the tool and the transmitted vibration to the hand, but it would be safe to assume that less gripping force translates into less transmitted vibration. That being said, because of the PAM's well balanced turret, no significant gripping force and effort are required to perform the task, thus greatly reducing transmitted vibrations to the hands.
Also, with respect to the PAM's ergonomic nature and it’s effortless way of using tool, a significant reduction in others musculosqueletal related problems are achieved.