Vibration Hazards in Mining:
Protecting Miners from Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
It’s an injury with many names: Raynaud’s Phenomenon, White Hand Syndrome, Vibration-induced white finger (VWF), Paresthesia, or most commonly, Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). When hands are repeatedly exposed to vibrations, they are at high risk for this injury. And unfortunately, this common condition tends to be under-reported because vibration injuries progress slowly.
Symptoms of HAVS:
- whitening (blanching) of one or more fingers when exposed to cold
- tingling and loss of sensation in the fingers
- loss of light touch
- pain and cold sensations between periodic white finger attacks
- loss of grip strength
- bone cysts in fingers and wrists
The Challenge of Developing Practical Hand Protection
Since HAVS is a common condition among miners, you’d think the safety industry would have created PPE that protects hands against vibration hazards – but it hasn’t. Why not? Because mining equipment and the mining environment pose several other challenges that add to the number of features needed in one pair of gloves. It takes a lot of engineering expertise to squeeze all these required features into one pair of gloves that won’t inhibit workers as they complete everyday tasks.
Beyond vibration dampening, miners commonly need safety gloves that are waterproof, dexterous and durable.
In the case of a stoper drill, the drill can often be let go of and allowed to drill into the ceiling of the shaft. There is less ongoing exposure to vibration, but water exposure poses a challenge. Since the stoper drill uses water to cool and lubricate the drill site, there is a constant downpour of water onto the driller. Workers in this situation need a waterproof glove.
When using a jackleg drill, there’s a major vibration hazard, as workers must constantly hold the drill. Users must push the drill into the rock face. They need a good sense of feel to operate the throttle, to gauge whether it needs to be throttled up or down, and to know if they’ve hit an obstruction. Unfortunately, manufacturers tend to add bulky, inflexible material to achieve vibration dampening, and this limits a worker’s ability to complete their everyday tasks.
The final challenge to overcome is durability. Drillers work in environments with rocks, fencing, metal components, and other tools that increase glove wear and pose cut risks. Workers need a glove that can handle this environment.
For over 100 years, Superior Glove has been leading hand safety innovation. When we realized the safety industry had not fully addressed the needs of miners at risk for HAVS, we developed the first waterproof, vibration-dampening gloves that are durable and dexterous enough to be practical for everyday use without sacrificing safety.
Our Chemstop™ S15KGVNVIB gloves are designed for workers who are exposed daily to vibration hazards from power tools such as jackleg and stoper drills. With 17 individual vibration dampening pads strategically placed in high-risk areas, these gloves offer protection where it’s needed most while maintaining a high level of comfort and dexterity. In addition, these gloves provide 360° cut resistance and feature a durable, water-tight seal to keep hands dry.
About Superior Glove
Superior Glove is a leading innovator in the design and manufacture of safety gloves and sleeves. For more than 100 years, Superior Glove has been protecting workers across the globe with specialized hand and arm protection for every major industry. Superior Glove’s headquarters is located in Ontario, Canada, and their team and company-owned/operated production facilities span across Canada, the United States, and Central America.
36 Vimy Street, ActonON, Canada, L7J 1S1
Toll Free: 1 (800) 265-7617
Fax: (519) 853-4496