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An Insulation Evolution is upon us in Insulate Magazine Issue 13. Q-bot a Robot that applies sprayfoam insulation under floors is set to take the insulation world by storm. Also features compelling articles from regular columnists and insulation experts. The importance of risk assessment According to the HSE, a good power tool supplier should recommend a range of appropriate tools and include vibration design information. In addition, they should provide a clear description of the vibration risk of each tool and instructions on how to safely use it. Although all vibrating tool manufacturers are required to provide figures quantifying each tool’s vibration HAVS level, a full assessment is still crucial. This is because a manufacturers’ figures are typically generated using a standard test carried out on a flat panel with new machines. The only way to realistically conclude values for each working condition is to measure vibration in the environment that the tool will be used, using the actual tool, substrate and abrasive. A competent person within the company should measure each tool’s vibration level using the HSE’s purpose-built calculator, available from: However, the testing equipment can be expensive, so smaller businesses may wish to use an independent company. Even for larger organisations, this can provide extra peace of mind. Because the effects of HAV are cumulative, the calculator gives the total length of time that a vibrating tool can be safely used for by any single person over the course of a day, even with breaks. How much action is required? The level of activity that employers need to take is determined by the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations. This depends on two different values – the exposure action value (EAV) and the exposure limit value (ELV). The EAV is 2.5m/s2 (equal to 100 points on the HSE calculator). The ELV is 5m/s2 (or 400 points). These figures relate to an eight-hour period during a single working day. If a tool’s vibration level is less than the EAV over an eight-hour period, it can theoretically be used for eight hours a day. vibration to the lowest level reasonably practicable, doing likewise for the exposure level if it is above the EAV. In any workplace where employees are exposed to HAV, employers must provide access to a competent occupational physician to receive detailed feedback about each individual, regularly monitoring and reporting any confirmed cases HAVS or carpal tunnel syndrome through the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). Taking Action to Reduce HAV Exposure Employers can place stickers on tools explaining how long they can be used for or use tool timers, which measure how long the tool has been used for and sound an alert when the limit is reached. A company can also use alternative, non-vibrating methods where possible; automating tasks; using jigs, clamps or rotating work involving vibrating tools between several workers. Using a tool with a lower vibration measurement or a smart sensor can also help. Personnel should be trained to not hold vibrating tools too tightly; use lower speed settings; ensure tools are properly stored and maintained; and check them before use. HAV exposure is not limited to the workplace - DIY tools used outside of work can also contribute. Although out of the employer’s control, HAV risk should be communicated to employees, nonetheless. For more information, visit Once the EAV is exceeded, employers must demonstrate that significant health surveillance is being undertaken, along with measures aimed at reducing exposure to the lowest possible level. If the exposure level surpasses the ELV, the operator must immediately stop using tools likely to cause vibration. The employer must then reduce the risk from 22

The only independent insulation industry trade magazine Insulate insulate Columnist columnist Hackitt Review Must Put Maximum Public Safety First and Foremost Sarah Kostense-Winterton Executive Director, MIMA With the Hackitt interim report expected before Christmas, we all have high hopes for Dame Judith’s independent review. What is clear is that we simply cannot and must not compromise on public safety. As the organisation representing the non-combustible insulation manufacturers, MIMA is firmly supportive of the scope of the Building Regulations review but believes we need to be more stringent, albeit prescriptive with particular attention being given to all mid- and high-rise, sensitive and high occupancy buildings such as schools, hospitals and care homes. Fit for purpose? We need to go wider with a review that fully considers the implications for fire safety in technology advances. Current developments in technology mean it is perfectly practical to track a product from factory to installation while keeping a digital record of what the product characteristics are. A record for current and future building occupants. We should consider whether wider testing methodologies are fit for purpose. Specifically focusing on whether the testing regimes applying in all buildings are only testing a perfect installation rather than a ‘real world’ one. Current regulations are ambitious Currently ‘guidance’ for facades in buildings over 18m high sits in multiple documents with Approved Document B referencing a variety of supporting documents which don’t lead to clear guidance on what is or isn’t permitted. To offer maximum public safety, the approved document should offer the only point of reference and the only permissible routes to compliance should be the use of Euroclass A1 or A2 rated products on facades which should be clearly set out in a redrafted Approved Document B. That redrafting should also clearly set out that Approved Document B is the only acceptable route to compliance Routes to compliance Approved Document B is not the only means to compliance with the Building Regulations – other bodies are permitted to publish their own guidance on how the regulations can be met. This has led to industry bodies publishing their own guidance on BR135 – these guides both contained four routes to compliance including desktop studies, which allow for combustible materials to be used without even being tested. There is substantial confusion within the industry and even amongst fire experts about what the official regulations do and do not state – many are under the false impression that the oft-quoted ‘four routes to compliance’ are in ADB or BR135, when they are not. Only specifying either A1 or A2 Euroclass products / systems can ever offer certainty to occupants that the façade will offer the maximum protection against fire. All other routes permit human error or judgement in to the system. Classification References in Approved Document B to national fire classifications such as “Class O” alongside Euroclasses than is actually the case. Similarly, marketing terms such as “fire retarded”, “fire safe” and “non-flammable” are 23