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Vibration control guidance

Over exposure to vibration from using equipment, machinery or vehicles can represent significant health risks to employees.

The most commonly known of these risks is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) - a general term for several conditions affecting blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints. It is caused by excessive exposure to vibration of the hand and/or arms and characteristic symptoms are whitening of the fingers, numbness or lack of feeling, tingling, reduced strength of grip and reduction in manual dexterity.

However, regular long term exposure to Whole Body Vibration (WBV) also represents a risk. WBV describes vibration transmitted through the seat or feet whilst using vehicles and is associated with back pain alongside other factors such as poor posture and heavy lifting.

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) limits vibration exposure during a working day. For HAV this is:
Exposure action value of 2.5m/s2 A(8) at which level employers should introduce technical and organisational measures to reduce exposure.
Exposure limit value of 5.0m/s2 A(8) which should not be exceeded.

For WBV, this is:
Exposure action value of 0.5m/s2 A(8) at which level employers should introduce technical and organisational measures to reduce exposure.
Exposure limit value of 1.15/ms2 A(8) which should not be exceeded.

Employers must:

  • Assess the vibration risk to your employees
  • Decide if they are likely to be exposed above the daily exposure action value (EAV) and, if they are, introduce a programme of controls to eliminate or reduce their daily exposure so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Decide if they are likely to be exposed above the daily exposure limit value (ELV) and, if they are, take immediate action to reduce their exposure below the limit value
  • Keep a record of your risk assessment and control actions
  • Review and update your risk assessment regularly

Control actions could include:

  • Making vibration level measurement information available on all applicable tools, plant, vehicles and machinery and record these in a register
  • Conducting appropriate exposure monitoring and health surveillance

Which Scafftag systems can help?

Requirement Relevant products
Testing and inspecting equipment at regular intervals to ensure continual safety Microtag – vibration control
Safetrak – vibration control
Maintaining a record of all inspections Safetrak – vibration control
Identifying equipment has been tested and inspected and ensuring employees are informed if equipment is not safe to use Microtag – vibration control
Safetrak – vibration control

For further advice on developing a vibration control management system, request a free Scafftag on-site visit, click here

Relevant Legislation:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974).
  • The European Physical Agents Directive (2002/44/EC)
  • Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005)