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Is hand-arm vibration a problem in your workplace?


Regular use of vibrating tools and equipment can cause a range of conditions known as 'hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)'. The best-known being vibration white finger (VWF), but vibration can also link to specific conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and muscoskeletal issues.


What the law says 
The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 (the Vibration Regulations), came into force on 6 July 2005 and aim to protect workers from risks to health from vibration. The regulations introduce action and limit values for hand-arm and whole-body vibration

Industries likely to involve hand-arm vibration tools
Jobs that use powered hand tools for a significant length of time are at a higher risk of exposure and ill-health problems. Common sectors which pose a risk are:

  • construction – builders
  • transport – roads and rail construction workers 
  • estate management – landscaper and maintenance teams  
  • forestry - tree surgeons
  • engineering – factory workers
  • vehicle manufacturers and repair
  • public utilities (e.g. water, gas, electricity, telecommunications)

Controlling the risks in your workplace
To prevent exposure to your workers you should: 

  • assess the risks
  • control the risks - are your controls adequate and do you have written evidence?
  • provide instruction and training to staff so they understand why control measures are important 
  • monitor and record 

Remember - HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done, it is permanent!

What happens during a HAV assessment?
A competent and fully qualified Occupational Hygiene consultant will:

  • Identify workers who are at risk.
  • Measure exposure levels to determine vibration magnitudes transferred from the hand tool to the hand.
  • Calculate how long tools can be used for before exceeding control limits.
  • Provide independent advice and recommendations on control strategies, an action plan, current legislation, to help you determine how best to protect your employees.

AEC can support you

Our team of occupational hygiene consultants can undertake a detailed HAV assessment which aims to help you identify your risks from HAV, assess what levels of vibration your workers are being exposed to and explain what you should be doing to safeguard your workforce and comply with the law. 

Contact Manchester 0161 872 7111, London 02003 384 6175 or email

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