Safety first

11 April 2008

The health, safety and environment team at Hilti is tasked with finding new ways of reducing vibration, noise and dust levels that are created by using its handheld tools. Speaking at a company press conference, Stefan Nöken, a member of Hilti's executive board said, the team was created as a result of increased industry concern over these issues.

He said, “Although many speak about hand-arm vibration only, we as one of the industry leaders in health and safety, believe that the subject needs to be addressed as a whole. Therefore, our approach includes all aspects of significance to health, safety and productivity on the jobsite regarding our tools and systems – including vibration, dust and noise.”

Stefan Zamel, head of project management, drilling and demolition in the health, safety and environment team, said that reducing vibration levels in construction machinery is a hot topic throughout Europe but noise and dust levels are also a growing concern.

Hilti's Dust Removal Systems (DRS) are featured in its latest drilling and demolition tools, including the TE 6, TE 7 and TE 7-A. Hilti's diamond tools such as the DD 110-D and all dry coring tools have a dust removal system as do diamond cutting and grinding tools such as the DCG 125-S. For Hilti's breaker tools noise levels are measured according to the Outdoor Noise Directive (OND) and for all other tools noise is measured according to the EN60745 standards.

Meanwhile, in order to combat vibration, Hilti's Active Vibration Reduction (AVR) system, which lowers vibration by up to two thirds and increases productivity, is available on the company's most recent breaker tools including the TE 706-AVR and the TE 500 AVR. For safety, Hilti also offers an Active Torque Control (ATC) system, which automatically stops the motor of the drill should a drill bit become stuck.

In Europe there is legislation in place to protect workers from certain 'physical agents', including vibration and, since February last year, noise as well. However, there is currently no EU-wide regulation on dust exposure. Despite this, according to Hilti, almost all EU member states have adopted national laws and exposure limits for different types of dust and the topic is attracting increasing attention from national authorities.

Speaking about vibration reduction in future products Mr Zamel said the technical challenge for Hilti is to produce a lightweight and non-bulky tool with low vibration levels.

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