Vibration HAV / WBV

What you need to know

Hand-arm vibration (HAV) comes from the use of hand-held power tools and is the cause of significant ill health (painful and disabling disorders of the blood vessels, nerves, joints and muscles of the hands and arms).

Hand arm vibration can be a significant health risk wherever powered hand tools are used for significant lengths of time.

Whole-body vibration (WBV) comes from driving a vehicle over rough terrain. Continued exposure to vibration, or sudden shocks, eg driving over a tree stump, can lead to back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders.

Hand-arm vibration: What employers need to do

Provide the right machine for the job, eg chainsaws designed for low vibration, with heated handles or with anti-vibration mounts Maintain equipment correctly, eg anti-vibration mountings on chainsaws See whether you can restrict exposure by limiting the time workers use vibrating equipment.

Hand-arm vibration: What workers need to do

Start with warm hands, keep them warm, and take regular breaks Report any pain or tingling in your hands or arms to your employer or employee representative.

Whole-body vibration: What employers need to do

  • Provide the right machine for the job, tractors with suspended axles or chassis for transport work.
  • Maintain equipment correctly.
  • Take full use of the tractor seat position and suspension adjustments.
  • Maintain traffic routes to be as smooth as possible and free of bumps and ruts
  • Avoid high levels of vibration and/or prolonged exposure for older workers, those with existing back problems, young people and pregnant women.

Whole-body vibration: What workers need to do

  • Travel at an appropriate speed for the ground conditions, and choose the right course to avoid ruts.
  • Report any back pain to your employer or employee representative

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