Around 300,000 people in the UK suffer from Vibration White Finger (VWF) – an industrial illness caused by the use of vibrating tools and equipment. Traditionally a miners disease, widespread use of modern vibrating apparatus means workers across other sectors are now being diagnosed.

The commercial vehicle industry is one such sector and concerns are being raised about how much is being done to fully protect staff in this area from the effects of VWF.

Commercial vehicle garage workers are often expected to use an impact gun on a regular basis, but we’d suggest the use of a torque wrench instead which is not only more accurate but also protects the operator from the effects of this unpleasant condition.   

If impact has to be used we would say use it sparingly and only to tighten bolts to a specific point well below the required final torque. Using a properly calibrated torque wrench beyond this point will finish the job without the dangerous vibrations.

Intelligent purchasing

Purchasers are often left in the dark on the exact vibration levels produced by tools – knowledge which could help them make better purchasing decisions for the health of their workforce. It can also be said that buying cheaper tools may be cost effective at the time, but with VWF causing some of the biggest compensation claims in British legal history, totalling a massive £1.4 billion to date, it may not be the most savvy financial decision in the long run.

Torque wrenches, such as Norbar’s Pneutorque pneumatic torque wrench, offer dramatically lower levels of vibration than impact wrenches, safe guarding employee health and offering financial security from costly personal injury claims.

VWF, also known as hand-arm vibration syndrome or dead finger can affect the arms, hands, wrists and fingers. Symptoms range from numbness to sever loss of grip or strength and can render suffers incapable of routine activities such as driving or doing up buttons.

Philip Brodey, Sales and Marketing Director at Norbar Torque