The Control of Vibration At Work

Vibration is the mechanical movement of a solid to and from its resting position. 

Hand-arm vibration is vibration transmitted into workers hands and arms. 

This can come from the use of hand-held power tools, hand-guided equipment or by holding materials being worked by hand-fed machines.

Exposure to vibration is widespread in industry and it is estimated that nearly 2 million people are at risk with up to 300,00 working days are lost each day in the UK, due to hand-arm related absences.

The health effects of vibration at work

Regular and frequent exposure to hand-arm vibration can lead to two forms of permanent ill health known as:

  • Hand-arm vibration Syndrome (HAVS); and
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

HAVS is reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR)

Symptoms and effects from vibration include:

  • Tingling and numbness in the fingers;
  • Loss of strength in the hands;
  • Fingers going white (blanching) and becoming red and painful on recovery.

Symptoms may come and go, but with continued exposure they may become prolonged or permanent.

What does the law require?

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 place specific duties on employers to:

  • Assess the risk to health from vibration;
  • Eliminate or control exposure;
  • Undertake health surveillance;
  • Provide information, instruction and training.

The Vibration Regulations include exposure values which indicate a clear risk requiring management and those that represent a high risk above which employees should not be exposed.

Your duties are to reduce the risks from vibration to the lowest level reasonably practicable. Exposures must not exceed the exposure limit value.

How do I know if I have a vibration problem at work?

There are a wide range of jobs involving regular and frequent exposure to high levels of vibration, for example:

  • Engineering;
  • Construction/Demolition;
  • Forestry;
  • Motor vehicle manufacture and repair;
  • Ground works;
  • Utilities.

Tools known to create a risk include chainsaws, grinders, impact drills, needle guns, lawn mowers, floor polishers and sanders.

Damaged and very old models of equipment are often higher risk than newer well maintained tools.

Undertaking a hand-arm vibration at work assessment

The aim of a vibration at work assessment is to take measurements to determine if operator exposure is likely to be above the action or limit values. 

Our trained and competent hygienists can assist you and help formulate a monitoring plan and guide you through the steps to compliance.

To accurately assess who is at risk our consultant will consider the following:

  • Who is exposed to hand-arm vibration;
  • What machine or tool is causing the exposure;
  • Estimate the time workers spend holding equipment or workpiece whilst it is vibrating.
  • To assess compliance with the exposure values, as required by Vibration regulations;
  • To provide recommendations on improving existing or additional control measures
  • Provide Information to support a risk assessment;
  • Provide an initial priority assessment including timescale for re-testing.

Request a Consultation

Get in touch

The first stage is to, either give us a call on 0191 378 2164 or fill out the contact us form and we’ll get back in touch to discuss your requirements.

We will then arrange a visit to your site, or if we have sufficient information, we’ll put a clear proposal together for you, with no hidden costs.

All being well our competent consultants will then visit site to undertake the work and produce a comprehensive report, reviewing your control measures with concise recommendations.

We operate throughout the UK and Worldwide.