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Majors set to blacklist untested power tools

PLANTOnly hand-held tools with veried vibration gures will be allowed on sites

THE MAJOR Contractors Group has warned manufacturers that from January 2007 only hand-held power tools which are listed on the Havtec register will be permitted on MCG sites.

Havtec is the independent vibration testing facility of Loughborough University's Off-Highway Plant and Equipment Research Centre. In a bid to reduce the exposure of construction workers to the risk of hand-arm vibration injury, MCG has led a campaign to encourage equipment suppliers to have their tools tested and the results published on the Havtec database.

The register is designed to provide 'real-world data, indicating the likely risk to workers using each tool. MCG has urged all those manufacturers of power tools supplying MCG sites to submit their equipment for testing and says that most major suppliers have participated. Now MCG has advised the few still to support the initiative that it has set an absolute deadline of January 2007.

Vaughan Burnand, chief executive of Shepherd Construction and chairman of the MCG Health and Safety Working Group, said: 'The work being carried out by Loughborough University and Operc will help managers assess the effect of vibration on operatives. We are reminding manufacturers that if equipment does not have technical data listed on our independent tester's website, we will use alternative suppliers who have supported this scheme.'

MCG director Stephen Ratcliffe commented: 'We are simply asking for information to be made available so people can carry out the necessary risk assessments.

Most manufacturers are happy to co-operate but there are always a few that aren't.'

Equipment that is not represented on the Havtec register would effectively be blacklisted, said Mr Ratcliffe. 'I hope it wouldn't come to that but, in a worst-case scenario yes, equipment would be banned from MCG sites, ' he said. 'Hand-arm vibration is after all a major risk area.'

MCG hopes that the application of a consistent benchmark for performance will accelerate the development of power tools and reduce the risks facing construction workers.