The Control of Hand-Arm Vibration : A Brief Guide


In this video, Teli Chinelis details a handy brief guide to the control of hand-arm vibration.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome or HAVS for short is a painful, distressing and potentially disabling condition and, like many occupational health disorders, the damage done by daily exposure is not at first apparent.

Work that involves vibration exposure may continue over long periods, sometimes over many years, before the individual becomes aware of any symptoms, so it is important that the risk is recognised and controlled by the employer.

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations of 2005 requires employers to eliminate or control risks from vibration to as low as reasonably practicable.

Where a risk to health remains, health surveillance must be provided by the employer.

The Health and Safety Executive has been taking enforcement action on HAV and employers have been prosecuted in cases where preventable cases of vibration-related ill health have been found.

A significant risk to a business where its employees use vibrating tools is that of civil claims. Compensation awards can be costly, particularly when a claimant is young and a ruling on the loss of future earnings can result in an award of hundreds of thousands of pounds. In 2019, a property development company was fined £600,000 after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome.

Controlling vibration risks today should assist with defending future claims and controlling the risk to employees’ health by identifying and assessing the risk and need for action.

The first stage is to identify tasks and processes that expose employees’ hands to vibration, and which may put them at risk of developing HAVS.

The sources of hand-arm vibration exposure generally fall into three categories: hand-held, hand-fed and hand-guided machines.

The level of risk associated with hand-arm vibration is dependent on the magnitude of the vibration and also on the duration of the exposure.

The 2005 Regulations require employers to eliminate risks from vibration at source or reduce them to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.

This duty applies no matter what the level of exposure.

However, the Regulations also define two levels of daily vibration exposure – the exposure action value and the exposure limit value – to help employers understand when the risk is at a level where action is required, and when the risk becomes unacceptable.

In order to decide whether the level of exposure associated with a particular job or task is likely to reach or exceed the exposure action or limit values, it is necessary to have information on the likely vibration magnitudes  associated with the tool, machine or process and on the daily duration of exposure to that  vibration.

If you would like further information in relation to occupational vibration then please contact Finch Consulting and we ‘ll get back to you as soon as possible.

[email protected] 0r 01530 412777.

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