Working with us on noise and hand-arm vibration
HSE has a strategy aimed at reducing work-related ill-health in partnership with leading stakeholders. These pages provide details of the Noise and Hand-Arm Vibration Programme, its targets and main project areas. If you are interested in working in partnership with us on a particular project please use the feedback page.
What is the noise and hand-arm vibration programme?
A programme of activities, in partnership with leading stakeholders, aimed at:
- Eliminating by 2030 as an occupational disease new cases of noise-induced hearing damage
- Controlling by 2015 as an occupational disease new cases of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome sufficiently to enable workers to remain at work without disability
It supports new EU-based regulations for the control of risks from noise and vibration at work, which have been in force in Great Britain since July 2005 for vibration and April 2006 for noise.
Medium-term and short-term targets
HSE is committed to seeking:
- 90% compliance by 2010 with the exposure limit values for noise and HAV in the new Regulations
- An overall reduction by 2010 in the reliance on hearing protection.
- From April 2008 to March 2010 we are embedding messages on noise and HAV.
From April 2006 to March 2007 we focused on hand-arm vibration at work (HAV).
- From April 2007 to March 2008 we focused on noise at work.
Priority industry sectors
All industry sectors that cause high exposures to noise and/or vibration but in particular:
- Furniture manufacture
- Heavy fabrication
- Machinery & equipment manufacture
- Motor Vehicles & trailers
- Rubber and plastics
Main project areas
Work with supplier stakeholders, eg machinery and equipment manufacturers, to help and influence them in developing noise and HAV control technology in their products and in providing sufficient information to enable employers to carry out their risk assessments.
This project aims to help and influence manufacturers of machines and equipment to:
- Develop and incorporate noise and hand arm vibration (HAV) control technology in their products
- Supply employers with information on noise and HAV risks in use sufficient for them to carry out a reasonable risk assessment.
This will reduce noise and HAV exposure at work and help prevent cases of ill-health.
The objectives are to:
- Write to key manufacturers and suppliers of powered hand-tools in target sectors to raise awareness of their duties under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 (see also Machinery Directive - 98/37/EC & 2006/42/EC) as amended and employers’ duties under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005
- Inspect a range of suppliers of powered hand-tools to ascertain the extent to which they supply information to enable the machine to be used safely or take steps to minimise HAV at source in the design of their products
- Inspect a range of suppliers of presses or metal cutting saws (noise)
- Report on the level of compliance with supply legislation in the manufacturers and suppliers visited
- Prepare some case studies from exemplar manufacturers and suppliers and publicise these on HSE’s website
- Have a meeting between key manufacturer and employer associations in target sectors to encourage partnership working.
Work with industry stakeholders, eg construction, heavy fabrication and foundries, focused on the development and take up of reasonably practicable controls for noise and HAV. HSE has already identified high vibration / high noise activities and processes for which there are alternatives, but wishes to work with industry to help develop the next generation of controls.
This project aims to:
- Develop, promote and enforce reasonably practicable control options in targeted sectors of industry (see good practice solutions)
- Deliver improvements in the level and quality of occupational health surveillance for Noise and Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome
- Work with industry to foster good practice and identify further reasonably practicable controls.
The main objectives are to:
- Identify, develop and promote a number of reasonably practicable controls for noise and hand-arm vibration exposure by fostering cooperation with key stakeholders in the target sectors and through inspector interventions with duty holders in target sectors
- Hold a number of communication events which will increase the awareness and use of reasonably practicable controls in industry sectors where noise and hand-arm exposure is known to present a significant risk to health
- Improve in target industries both the standard provision and the implementation of occupational health surveillance for noise and hand-arm vibration exposure in accordance with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations.
See our good practice solutions.
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Worker awareness and involvement in noise and HAV control in construction and manufacturing sectors.
2009/10 Building on earlier work to further develop supporting materials, revise guidance and web pages to produce
- A WI ‘start up’ pack
- Toolbox talk kit(s)
- Succinct case studies
- Simplified guidance (incorporating a checklist)
2006/08 Worker involvement pilot project
The pilot project aimed to:
- Augment employer efforts to reduce occupational ill-health related to exposure to noise and hand-arm vibration (HAV) in the workplace by introducing worker involvement schemes
- Support corporate goals of reducing occupational ill-health and promoting worker involvement.
The main objectives of the pilot project were to:
- Develop a suite of support materials for pilot employers on noise and HAV worker participation
- Recruit and lead pilot employers in setting up noise and HAV worker involvement schemes in the construction and manufacturing sectors
- Develop worker involvement systems with managers and supervisors in pilot companies, specifically targeting noise and HAV risks
- Support pilot companies in training affected staff and undertaking risk assessment in relation to noise and HAV exposure.
- Achieve significant reduction in noise and HAV exposure in pilot companies
- Report and make recommendations in relation to possible wider rollout of the project.
Music and entertainment (not applicable to vibration exposure)
Guidance on noise control in the music and entertainment sectors for music and entertainment sectors The main objectives were to:
- Provide the music and entertainment sectors with practical advice, agreed with the industry, on controlling noise at work - Sound advice web guide and book (HSG260) were published in 2008.
- Achieve a reduction in noise exposure at work in these sectors and consequently in new cases of occupational deafness and tinnitus.
- Work with local authorities and other stakeholders to promote Sound advice. Since local authorities lead on enforcement in most music and entertainment sectors, they have a focus on raising awareness in 2009/10.
HSE is already working in partnership with a number of leading stakeholders but would welcome more expressions of interest eg to help communicate with those who may be at risk in priority industry sectors. Please use the Feedback page to indicate how you think you can help. Alternatively you may leave your details so that we can inform you of future relevant developments. HSE cannot endorse individual commercial products.
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