Hand Arm Vibration
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is serious and disabling, but it can be avoided. However, once the damage has been done, it is permanent.
Your workforce could be at risk if they regularly use hand held or hand guided power tools and machines such as sanders, grinders and hammer drills or they use powered machinery such as pedestal grinders that vibrate the workpieces they are holding.
Regular work with hand held or hand guided power tools for more than a few hours a day could damage the nerves, blood vessels and joints of the hand, wrist and arm. Furthermore, whether or not an employee is susceptibility to this damage cannot be determined in advance.
Legal Requirements for Hand Arm Vibration
The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 aims to protect workers from the risks to health from vibration. It also places a duty on employers to assess the risks to their employees from vibration at work and to take action to reduce the vibration exposure that produces those risks.
Moreover, the regulations set a daily exposure action value of 2.5 ms-2. This means that employers must take action to control exposure and reduce risk if this exceeded.
The Regulations also set a maximum daily exposure limit value for workers of 5 ms-2. Employers must act to ensure that they don’t exceed this limit too.
Hand Arm Vibration Assessment
We undertake the assessments with fully calibrated equipment and follow the following guidance:
- The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.
- Health and Safety Executive Guidance – L140 Hand-arm vibration.
- BS EN ISO 5349-1: 2001 Mechanical vibration. Measurement and evaluation of human exposure to hand-transmitted vibration. General requirements.
During a Hand Arm Vibration assessment, we take measurements from the handle of the vibrating tool, or from the work piece itself. These are used, along with the time that hands are exposed to the measured vibration, known as the contact time or trigger time, to give a three-axis vibration total value.
If seeking to assess an employee’s daily vibration exposure from several tools, the Health and Safety Executive have developed a points system to enable this. The vibration magnitudes are converted to points and added together to give a total which is then compared to the Hand Arm Vibration exposure action value of 100 points and the exposure limit value of 400 points.
Further Information is available below