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RR1162 - Standard test codes for the declaration of vibration emission: a review of research carried out by the Health and Safety Executive

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a painful and disabling disorder of the blood vessels, nerves and joints, caused by exposure to hand transmitted vibration, often from using power tools. HAVS is preventable, but once damage is done, it is irreversible.

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 require manufacturers to minimise machinery vibration risk and declare vibration emission. British standard test codes can be used for this declaration. Manufacturers must provide information to enable risk from vibration (after minimisation by the manufacturer) to be assessed and effectively managed; they should draw attention to any gap between the risk indicated by the declared vibration emission and the likely actual risk during use.

This report gives an overview of HSE research carried out up to 2013 to investigate vibration emission information from standard test codes for 31 different power tool categories.

Results showed that vibration emission data measured according to the latest test codes are useful for identifying low or high vibration power tools in some, but not all, cases. Typically, in-use vibration is under-estimated, rendering the data unsuitable for risk assessment.

Employers and users of power tools should seek corroboration of data they intend to use for risk assessment to assure the data are reliable for estimating hand-arm vibration exposures.

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Updated 2020-11-25