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RR884 - Hand-arm vibration of horticultural machinery - Part 1

In recent years there have been many cases of HAVS being reported for people who work in agriculture, horticulture and landscape gardening. HSE/HSL does not currently hold much information on vibration exposures in these areas of work.

The work described in this report assesses the standard test defined in BS EN 836:1997 (incorporating amendments Nos. 1 to 3) for repeatability and ease of use and where possible for reproducibility (by comparing machine manufacturers’ declared vibration against HSL measurements to the same standardised procedures). It also assesses the validity of the measurement techniques adopted in the vibration emission test, investigates some of the factors which are likely to influence the results of the test and compares the vibration emission values with vibration magnitudes measured under real operating conditions.

The report concludes that the standard is not capable of producing vibration emission values which represent the upper quartile of in-use vibration magnitudes. The vibration risk associated with the use of the mowers tends to be underestimated. The main source of vibration appears to be governed by the motion of the lawnmower as it interacts with the surface over which it passes. The emission test is a static test and so none of these effects resulting from machine motion can be seen.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2011-09-30