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Sof tware 'designs out' hand-arm vibration r isk

PLANT - Tool program enables designers to calculate quantity of fixings and amount of drilling required

TOOL manufacturer Hilti has launched a software package that makes it possible to 'design out' workers' exposure to hand-arm vibration in line with the current thinking on CDM responsibilities.

The software package Profis takes the battle against hand-arm vibration in a new direction. It enables the designer or specifier to calculate the number and type of anchors required in a particular structure, taking into account the base-plates and loading required and also to calculate the diameter, depth and number of holes that will need to be drilled to install them.

At the same time the software calculates the maximum number of holes that can be drilled to remain within vibration exposure action and limit levels.

This, according to Hilti, enables contractors to specify the pairing of anchor and specific drill and bit that will produce the optimum safe vibration exposure for the workforce.

The information can also be printed out and used as an hand-arm vibration exposure assessment for a specified drilling task.

Marketing director Paul Langford said: 'The reason that we can have confidence in the calculations is that we make both the anchor and the drilling equipment. The CDM regulations have a requirement for designers to reduce risk through both design and specification and reducing hand-arm vibration is part of this. We believe that this product will actually enable construction firms to design out the risks of HAV.' The firm is confident that the software will have other benefits for construction firms in terms of cost control.

Mr Langford said there had already been interest from design firms which are keen to optimise productivity and cut the vibration exposure under their CDM responsibilities.

He said: 'The tendency among designers has been to over-compensate when it comes to things like anchors and base-plates, but this will allow them to optimise the specifications.

'An important spin-off is that the software should also enable them to calculate the manpower required more accurately.' The software allows the operator to compare four different anchor types for a given structure and recommends the best power tool for the size and diameter of fixing required. The program then calculates the number of holes that can be drilled daily to stay within the HSE limits.

Once the anchor is specified, an exposure assessment is then created, which can be printed and presented as a risk assessment. Profis also produces detailed CAD drawings for the fixings.