What you need to do...
The law aims to protect workers from the risks to health from exposure to vibration. Remember to:
- use the right machine for the job;
- maintain equipment correctly;
- start with warm hands, keep them warm, and take regular breaks;
- make full use of the tractor seat position and suspension adjustments;
- travel at an appropriate speed for the ground conditions;
- maintain traffic routes to be as smooth as possible;
- avoid high levels of vibration and/or prolonged exposure for older workers, those with existing back problems, young people and pregnant women;
- see whether you can restrict exposure by limiting the time workers use vibrating equipment.
What you need to know...
Repeated or prolonged use of vibrating tools such as chainsaws, brush cutters or grinders can lead to hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), a group of diseases including vibration white finger, nerve, muscle or joint damage. Warning signs include tingling or numbness in the fingers, fingers turning white in cold or damp conditions, followed by throbbing and flushing.
Whole-body vibration (WBV) is the vibration and shock you feel when you sit or stand on a vehicle or machine travelling over rough ground or along a track, or the vibration when you work near powerful machinery such as milling machinery. Shocks can occur, for example, when driving over bumps or potholes.
Exposure to WBV at low levels is unlikely on its own to cause back pain, but it can aggravate existing back injuries which may cause pain. There are many causes of back pain other than WBV, which must be adequately controlled. Tackle the most likely cause of back pain first (see Manual handling).