Over 2 million people in the UK are at risk of suffering from painful and disabling disorders of the blood vessels, nerves and joints as a result of exposure to vibration within the workplace.
The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 places a duty on employers to ensure that vibration exposure levels are assessed and reduced if the daily exposure action level is exceeded. A specific requirement is placed on employers to ensure health surveillance is conducted in these circumstances.
The aim of the Vibration Regulations is to ensure that workers are protected from excessive vibration when using handheld power tools or driving mobile machines at their place of work, which could result in vibration white finger, disabling hand arm symtoms and back issues.
The level at which employers must take action will depend on the measured vibration exposure for each task or activity over a working day.
There are two values that need to be considered, the action value (the level of daily exposure at or above which you are required to take action to reduce exposure) and the daily exposure limit (the maximum amount of vibration an employee maybe exposed to on a single day). In relation to hand arm vibration these limits are 2.5 m/s2 (acceleration in meters per second) and 5 m/s2 respectively. Whilst when considering whole body vibration the values are 0.5m/s2 and 1.15 m/s2.
ACTIONS AND ADVICE
As an employer it is your responsibility to protect your employees against HAVS and other assocaited health effects. Initailly you need to identify any activities that are prone to generating vibration, then the first steps in reducing exposure levels is to ask the question, could the activity be done in a different way without using vibrating tools and machines.
If this cannot happen then you will need to carry out a vibration risk assessment, as part of this process it will be necessary to identify actual exposure levels for the various activities / roles within the workplace to ensure they do not exceed the HSE limits.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Our consultants are here to help you with advice and guidance. We offer a free consultation service to assist you in assessing the risk assocaited with vibration and if needed we can carryout a site assessment that will determine the levels of vibration exposure.
As part of our assessment we will interprete the results and provide advice and recommendations that will ensure you meet regulatory compliance.
INTERESTED IN A HAND ARM & WHOLE BODY VIBRATION ASSESSMENTS?
If you need any further assistance or would like to know more please get in touch and we will get back to you as soon as we can.