Due to the danger surrounding plant hire equipment the pieces need to be properly handled and you must have a full knowledge of how to work the vehicle/tool before attempting any work. Even with the smaller tools that seem harmless, even if you know how to use them correctly, can cause damage to you when using it, for example the hand held pneumatic drill can cause the person using it to have hand arm vibration syndrome. Some of the symptoms of hand arm vibration syndrome are;
- White fingers - It can cause your fingers to turn white in spells, usually with cold weather or if your hands get wet when its raining, and they will also go numb when this happens. One of the first symptoms can be tingling in your fingers so if you have any tingling or numbness when using the tool stop immediately.
If these symptoms aren't recognised early on then you could be left with permanent numbness in your fingers. Some ways to prevent this syndrome are:
- Make sure you keep your hands warm wearing gloves, and make sure the circulation in your hands is good by stopping for regular breaks and doing some hand exercises.
- The tools you are using should be of high quality and drilling parts should be sharp, this makes it easier for you and will take less time for the job to be complete. This is important as it's over long periods of use that you are likely to gain the symptoms of HAVS.
- Don't grip the tool too tightly if you let it vibrate loosely in your hands then it will do most of the work itself causing you less tension and taking less time for the job to be completed.
Another common problem in this line of work includes:
- Deafness and tinnitus - This is caused by the excessive noise that is produced by the equipment. Tinnitus is caused by the noise and is a continuous ringing sound in the person's ear causing a lot of discomfort and annoyance.
Ways of preventing this are:
- If you wear noise reduction ear defenders then the amount of noise actually reaching your ear is dramatically reduced. These are usually provided by the company you work for or you should be able to get them from the company you rent your equipment from.
- There are special drill and chisel heads that have drilled sections through the centre, this has been proven to reduce the sound level of such machines by nearly 20 decibels. These tend to cost slightly more than the normal attachments but if you are working with these kinds of tools for a long period of time then it is recommended, because health and safety is the main issue when working with plant hire equipment.
If you don't have the right qualifications to work with the tools you need to use hire some one who does to complete the work for you never attempt it your self.