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Q & A consultant

Guidance for employers on engaging a vibration consultant

 

Feedback from the Q&A session on using a vibration consultant

Finding a good vibration consultant

A vibration consultant will offer expertise in controlling risk from exposure to vibration at work and should be able to help you decide how the law applies in your workplace and provide advice on measures to reduce exposure to vibration. They should also be able to help you provide information, instruction and training for your employees and find a quality health surveillance provider.

A good partnership between you and a vibration consultant will make the most of your knowledge of your industry and your business and the consultant’s expertise in assessing, minimising and managing risk from hand-arm vibration.

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What should I expect from a vibration consultant?

Your consultant should provide strength where you find your company’s knowledge or expertise is weak.

Your consultant should help you prevent vibration injury and stop existing injuries getting worse.

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Can a vibration consultant do everything that needs to be done to control risk from vibration?

It is unlikely that you will give a consultant the authority and funding to do all that needs to be done.  Even if you manage to engage a consultant who can solve the problem for you, the duty and liability under health and safety law remain yours (though the consultant will be jointly liable with you for any offence committed due to the consultant’s act or omission).

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Do I need a vibration consultant to make measurements?

You only need to measure vibration emissions if measurements will help with your planning of actions to reduce vibration exposures and control risk so far as is reasonably practicable.

 

If you want or need to measure vibration emission it is advisable to engage a consultant who is familiar with measuring hand-arm vibration exposures.

If you need measurements for many workers it may be worthwhile training one of your staff in hand-arm vibration measurement because you will need to make several measurements for each tool or process to take adequate account of variability in the likely exposure.

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Why do I need to estimate vibration exposures?

You need to know how the exposures of your employees compare with the exposure action value and exposure limit value set in the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 so that you can be sure that you have at least met the minimum requirements set out in the Regulations.

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How do I make a reliable estimate of vibration exposure?

A reliable estimate of vibration exposure requires a reliable estimate of both the:

You need sufficient precision only to be sure that exposures are reduced as low as is reasonably practicable, below the exposure limit value and, where health surveillance is not in place, below the exposure action value. You may be able to obtain reliable vibration emission from many sources (manufacturers, trade associations, databases, etc.) but you will need to know how long the tools are used for (hands on and power on – trigger time). Most employers choose to measure trigger time in-house.

A reliable estimate of vibration exposure requires a reliable estimate of both the:

You may be able to obtain reliable vibration emission from many sources (manufacturers, trade associations, databases, etc.) but you will need to know how long the tools are used for (hands on and power on – trigger time).  Most employers choose to measure trigger time in-house.

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What should I do if I can’t find reliable vibration emission information?

You will need to measure the vibration for your circumstances.

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Can I comply with the Regulations without making measurements?

Yes.

You may choose to take all the actions required at the exposure action value without making measurements.  You will need to record information that makes it clear that risks from exposure are reduced so far as is reasonably practicable and that exposures are below the exposure limit value. 

For example, you may be able to follow manufacturers’ information on how to use their tools without risks from vibration in a way that makes it unlikely that exposures will exceed the exposure action value.

 
2011-07-25