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Nuttall to eliminate use of harmful vibrating tools this year

Bam Nuttall has said that it will eliminate the use of rock drills, hand breakers and scabblers on its projects by the end of 2018, to stamp out conditions such as white finger.

According to Nuttall, the impact of such tools on construction workers has been underplayed.

The company has vowed to stop using as many as possible, although it acknowledges the challenges of meeting this aim.

Bam Nuttall divisional director John Heffernan said that many of the tools the company is aiming to remove from its operation are from a “bygone era” and the industry “has been slow to develop alternatives”.

He said that 30 years ago white finger was an accepted part of the job, especially in tunneling, but Heffernan believes that it is simply not acceptable today.

According to Heffernan, changing practices is essential to attract and retain staff and he has called for a change in attitude towards the use of vibrating tools by contractors, their workforce and manufacturers.

Nuttall has started the process by introducing a permit system for hand held rock drills, breakers and scabblers to highlight the need to look for alternatives. Heffernan reports that this has already driven a change in practices but he said that a ban was needed to ensure the risks associated with vibratory tools are further reduced.

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