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August 26, 2020

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Hand-arm Vibration

Hand-arm vibration: HSE publishes new inspection and enforcement guidance

HAV Inspection and Enforcement Guidance document replaces the Topic Inspection Pack on Hand-arm Vibration.

The HSE has published a new HAV Inspection and Enforcement Guidance document for all Inspectors and Visiting Officers, and SG Specialist (Noise and Vibration, Occupational Hygiene, Occupational Health) Inspectors.

The document is aimed at inspectors inspecting work activities involving risks from exposure to HAV and investigating hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) ill health cases reported through RIDDOR. It is also for visiting officers (VOs) assisting with HAVS RIDDOR investigations.

The guidance provides a consistent framework for assessing compliance and making enforcement decisions.

HAV is a widespread hazard in many industries and occupations which use vibrating tools and work processes. Prolonged and regular exposure to this vibration can lead to progressive and permanent health effects resulting in a range of disease conditions, collectively known as HAVS. Vibration exposure is also associated with specific diseases such as CTS. The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 (Vibration Regulations) is the primary legislation dealing with HAV issues in the workplace.

It provides guidance for Inspectors on the factors they should consider and the actions they should take when investigating HAVS cases and enforcing the Vibration Regulations when they find high HAV exposures and inadequate measures to control and manage risks.

It says that HAV should be considered as a matter of evident concern (MEC) where:

  • Exposure is likely to be at or above the Exposure Action Value (EAV; or
  • There is evidence of vibration-related ill health (eg HAVS, CTS) not being properly managed; or
  • Employees report tingling when using vibrating tools, which persists for 20 minutes or more afterwards.

The guidance is available here.

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