July 25, 2019

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Second edition of L140 published: Hand-arm vibration

Hand-arm vibration or HAV is a widespread hazard for employees in many industries and occupations. This second edition of L140, published by the HSE, outlines what an employer’s duties are under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 as they relate specifically to HAV.

pneumatic-drillHAV exposure at work can arise from the use of handheld machines (such as grinders and hammer drills), hand-guided machinery (such as lawnmowers and plate compactors) and hand-fed machines (such as pedestal grinders and forge hammers). Regular and frequent exposure to this vibration, usually over many months or years, can affect the operator’s health.

However, it is advised that the risks from vibration can be controlled and most employees can be protected from ill health caused by vibration. To protect employees, and to comply with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 (the Vibration Regulations), employers need to assess the risks from vibration and implement measures to control them.

The book looks at the employer’s legal obligations to control risks to employees’ health and safety from exposure to HAV and to prevent HAV-related diseases such as hand-arm vibration syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. It covers the management and control of the risks from HAV and how to protect employees, with practical guidance on risk assessments, controlling vibration exposure and arranging health surveillance.

The guidance is aimed at employers as well as those who advise employers, such as health and safety professionals, vibration specialists and occupational health professionals.

Why the revision?

The guidance has been updated in keeping with changes to related legislation, technical advances and experience, says the HSE. The layout has been modified to emphasise control of exposure. There are minor changes to the legislation but no changes to HSE’s policy on the control of HAV.

A revised Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC came into force across Europe on 29 December 2009, implemented in the UK as the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations (SMR) 2008.4,5,6 Harmonised standards supplementing and elaborating on the requirements of this Directive have improved the information about vibration being supplied with powered hand tools.

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