Available in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations, including single, dual or triple horizontal grinding discs, floor grinders are used to flatten or smooth wood, concrete and other types of flooring.
Floor grinders and vibration white finger
No matter the type of floor grinder used, all operators are exposed to a great deal of vibration. Prolonged exposure to vibration presents the risk of workers developing vibration white finger or similar vibration induced conditions, all of which are commonly referred to under the single term hand arm vibration syndrome.
Because of this, employers are therefore required to assess the potential risk of employees sustaining injuries at work, and take the necessary steps to minimise threats to health and safety.
Classification and subsequent requirements
Floor grinders are classed as medium vibration equipment. This means they present the potential risk of operators developing repetitive strain injuries, if used for more than the recommended maximum of two hours per day. Workers should be aware of this risk and made to adhere to relevant safety guidelines.
The risk can be reduced by the provision of protective pads and gloves, which are designed to absorb vibration. Workers should also be allowed to take short recovery breaks, lasting a minimum of ten minutes, after every hour of using floor grinders.
When working on large floor areas, requiring grinding operation that is expected to exceed two hours, an employee rotation system should be implemented. This will ensure that no single individual is exposed to the medium vibration equipment for longer than recommended, minimising the risk of developing vibration white finger and other industrial ailments.
It is advisable that workers who are exposed to frequent excessive vibration undergo health checks via regular screening appointments. In the case that early signs of vibration white finger are detected, affected workers should be assigned to alternative tasks until their condition improves.
Signs and symptoms of vibration white finger include blanching/whitening of the fingers, unnaturally cold hands or fingers, pins and needles, numbing, and loss of sensation. Aches, pain and loss of dexterity may also be experienced at some stage.
If you sustain an occupational illness or injury, as a result of accidents at work caused by employer negligence, including unsatisfactory working conditions, you may be able to claim work-accident compensation.
At Accident Advice Helpline, we have over 15 years’ experience assisting victims of work-related injury and illness, including cases of vibration white finger. Enlist the assistance of our legal team, who work on a no-win no-fee basis to ensure claimants receive the compensation they deserve for the distress they have endured.
Give us a call today on 0800 689 0500 to speak to one of our advisers, and to find out more about industrial injury compensation.