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Advice on the control of vibration at work

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations came into force on 6 July 2005 and is designed to protect anyone working with tools and machinery. If you employ such people, you need to be aware of your responsibilities under the legislation.

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The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations came into force on 6 July 2005 and are designed to protect anyone working with tools and machinery. If you employ such people, you need to be aware of your responsibilities under the legislation. Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) Regular long term exposure to HAV may cause diseases which are painful and disabling. Look out for HAV risks in all industries where hand-held power tools and machines which transmit vibration into the hands are used. Whole Body Vibration (WBV) Regular long term exposure to WBV is associated with back pain alongside other factors such as poor posture and heavy lifting. Look out for WBV risks where any commercial/industrial/construction vehicles are driven regularly for most of the day. Controlling the risks The risks can be controlled by good management - guidance is available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. How exposure occurs Exposure to vibration at work can occur in two main ways: Hand-transmitted vibration (known as hand-arm vibration or HAV) and vibration transmitted through the seat or feet (known as whole-body vibration or WBV). Workers may be exposed to HAV when operating hand-held power tools such as road breakers or when holding materials being worked by machines such as pedestal grinders. Exposure may result in a range of health effects collectively known as Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS. The most well known health effect is vibration white finger, but other effects include damage to sensory nerves, muscles and joints in the hands and arms. The HSE website has a vibration calculator so that you can measure the vibration magnitudes caused to your employees by the equipment they are using at work. About the author MD Safety Management Ltd prepare the Forum's Health and Safety Guide and provides health and safety services to small to medium-sized businesses across a wide range of industry sectors.

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