Enviro – Vibration in construction
Vibration in construction: Everything you need to know
About vibration in construction
There are a tonne of obvious health, safety and environmental hazards and risks on construction sites all over the world. But there are also a number of less obvious and less talked about but equally impactful risks which construction site workers and surrounding communities must manage and control for.
One of the more silent 'killers' on construction sites are vibrations, which are created and disseminated from construction and excavation equipment, rail and road traffic, and industrial machinery.
Construction site vibration can have a tangible negative impact on a number of parties and assets, including the surrounding communities, surrounding buildings, and the workers operating machines and equipment.
Workers whose hands are regularly exposed to high vibration from tools and machines often suffer from several short and long term injuries - including issues with the hands and arms, impaired blood circulation and damage to the nerves and muscles.
Vibrations can also impact the quality of life and working efficiency of people in nearby buildings, who can detect and experience vibrations from a distance.
To mitigate the chances of any party experiencing the negative impacts of construction site vibrations, there are rules and regulations about the frequency and capacity of vibration allowed on construction sites. But there are also some additional practices which companies and people can put in place to better protect construction site workers, surrounding communities and the environment.
Monitoring and mitigating construction site vibrations
One of the easiest and quickest wins for companies and sites looking to reduce the size and impact of site vibrations is to conduct and report on regular vibration monitoring tests.
There are a number reputable vendors who supply industrial companies with high tech and extremely accurate vibration monitoring equipment. Once this equipment is purchased, it's important to conduct vibration monitoring at regular intervals - or when the certain circumstances dictate it.
The job of vibration monitoring reporting can sit with the environmental teams at large organisations, or any site engineer or manager at many other organisations.
Conducting vibration monitoring tests enables industrial companies to assess the frequency and scale of the vibrations on site, and make more informed decisions about the preventative or corrective actions they can take to better protect their people, other stakeholders and the environment.
The result of your vibration monitoring reports should look like the example you see below. Creating and deploying a vibration monitoring report template to your projects and teams ensures that all of the data you capture is standardised and accurate, so that you can compare it and cross-reference it to rules and regulations, as well as other construction sites the company has worked on.
It's incredibly important to capture and document impactful regulatory information like vibration controls properly. Not conduction, documenting or sharing vibration monitoring reports can lead to investigations, which can result on costly operational delays and site shutdowns.
Use this vibration monitoring report template for free now.
Mitigating the impacts of construction site vibrations through equipment
The part most directly impacted by vibrations on construction sites, and the party which can be most directly effected by conscious measures and vibration controls are the workers on site.
Construction site workers are often charged with performing long bouts of activity with high powered and inherently vibration heavy machinery and power tools.
Quick wins and easy-to-implement changes to prevent injury to workers include buying and using vibration reducing equipment. There are a number of pieces of equipment which isolate vibrations on equipment, and prevent vibrations from passing from the vibrating machine or tool to the operator's hands. Some of the common methods for achieving this include:
- Rubber bushes
- Anti-vibration mounts
- Anti-vibration gloves
It's important to ensure that any of these pieces of equipment fit properly with the machine or tool being used and don't impact its normal operation - or warranties etc.
You can also pay closer attention to vibration ratings and the type of equipment you are purchasing at the procurement stage. Some new models and makes (and some specific suppliers) place more emphasis on reducing vibration, noise and other emissions and pollutants. Solving the vibration problem at the source (the piece of equipment or tool) can reduce the additional costs of supplemental equipment and often serves as a much better long term solution.
So do a regular audit of your tools and machinery and stay on top of the latest products and solutions.
Better vibration practices and administrative control
In addition to the very tangible measures a company can take, like new equipment or tool protectors, companies can make some instant process and cultural changes which make a potentially larger impact on vibration controls.
Firstly, discussing the issue of managing vibrations with workers and teams can bring attention to its important.
It's easy for the workers on site to ignore or brush over their worries or aggregating injuries in favour of 'getting on with it'.
It's important for companies to show that people and environmental safety is important to them, and is too high a cost for any task or activity. Even a simple solution like implementing longer and more frequent breaks for workers using high-vibration equipment can really reduce injuries and impact.
Going over and above the rules and regulations set by governing agencies isn't hard, and it can have a big impact on your site vibration controls - and positively impact your people, projects, community standing and the environment.
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