Hi-tec connectivity goes hand-in-glove with HAVS prevention, says developer

CityFibre and its construction partner Callan Connect are giving a new British-made wearable internet-connected technology its first live test on a construction site – and it could help prevent Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), a version of which is known as ‘white finger’ and is still prevalent among stonemasons.

Developed by Coventry start-up Feraru Dynamics, the HAV Sentry Glove monitors in real-time the vibrations workers are exposed to when operating tools such as angle grinders, drills and breakers and uses high speed internet connectivity to analyse and record the information.

The smart technology works continuously, analysing the readings and alerting the wearer when levels reach legal exposure limits.

While Coronavirus is occupying people’s attention regarding health & safety at the moment, it was only in November that a company was given a £600,000 fine for exposing five employees who ended up with HAVS to illegal levels of vibration for five years. Presumably the days of such fines will return.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) considers HAVS a preventable condition, which is why it prosecutes companies that expose their employees to it.

Once the damage is caused, it is permanent, causing debilitating symptoms including numbness, tingling, sensitivity and reduced grip strength.

According to HSE, nearly 2million people across the UK are at risk of developing the condition, with those working in construction among the worst affected.

The HAV Sentry Glove will be tested by two of Callan Connect’s workers at sites across CityFibre’s Coventry build.

CityFibre is rolling out a £60million citywide Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) programme, bringing gigabit-speed connectivity within reach of almost every home and business in Coventry.

A core part of this strategy is to work collaboratively on the testing of new technologies and initiatives to speed-up and improve deployment of this high speed connectivity, as well as enhancing the safety and wellbeing of employees.

By participating in the trial, Callan Connect will provide feedback on the effectiveness of this new wearable technology when it is being used in a real construction environment.

Richard Thorpe, Chief Delivery Officer at CityFibre, says: “The welfare of the people building our network is of paramount importance to us. We are constantly challenging ourselves to find ways of helping to prevent injuries and improve our processes. As we deliver next generation connectivity it’s fitting we are using connected devices to help monitor and maintain the health of our staff.

“We are also really pleased to be able to help a growing organisation like Feraru Dynamics, which is a fantastic example of modern British engineering. We’re proud to do our bit to support projects like this that have the potential to benefit our contractors as well as thousands of people across the UK and beyond.”