Hand Arm Vibration

Tools that create vibration when operated can cause the operator serious injury, To reduce the risks of this use control measures such as:-

Choosing Equipment

Hand and power tools should be selected for the the use that they are intended and designed for.

A good  example is tool hire companies stating the vibration work limits eg Heavy Hydraulic Breaker

  • Vibration level: breaker 4m/s²

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There are various tables available but this example shows that the hydraulic breaker =4m/s2 therefore rated as 8 hour work exposure.

Maintain Tools Properly

Supervisors and employees should be in the habit of fully inspecting tools and equipment as well as carrying out maintenance to these tools.

Monitor the Exposure

The exposure limits for specific work/tools should be determined prior to the works being carried out, for example hire companies will have labels on tools with the exposure limits, it may be a simple label with 15 minutes per hour maximum therefore the employee should not exceed that 15 minutes and another worker should then take over the task.

Health Surveillance

For staff that will regularly use tools that may cause injury due to vibration  a system of health surveillance should be established, for example this could be periodic  medical examinations that would be able to detect the symptoms earlier and thus allow timely treatment. Questionnaires can be used that new employees complete and then as often as required, bearing in mind that in the Building and Construction industry staff are more likely to be short term, in this case communication between management and staff should be as often as possible, this can be tool box talks and discussion of Risk Assessments.


There is a large amount of first class information on the UK HSE Website that will be useful for small and large companies http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/index.htm