These pages provide dates and, where available, feedback about past news and events in relation to vibration at work.

Winter 2009

Summary on Health Surveillance for Noise and Hand Arm Vibration

Bristol City Football Club - 17th November 2009

The purpose of this event was to improve dutyholders understanding on what aspects had to be considered when determining what is required from health surveillance for noise and hand arm vibration and how to select an appropriate qualified company or individual to undertake this activity.  The findings presented here are a summary of the thoughts of the 49 dutyholders present at this event based on current practice within their respective companies, the existing legislation and following on from the series of talks delivered in the morning on the subject. The document can act as an aide memoire to any company needing to consider health surveillance for noise or hand arm vibration or are considering re-evaluating their health surveillance needs on this subject.

How does an employer decide on competency?

Obtain references from previous and existing clients of the occupational health service provider (OHSP) tendering for the business.

Request documentary evidence of competency eg for nurses ask if they hold a diploma in occupational health and ask to see their certificate and whether they hold a current Nursing and Midwifery council registration.  While for doctors a qualification in occupational medicine such as the diploma in occupational medicine issued by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM)

For hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is there evidence that either the nurse or the doctor holds a qualification for HAVS issued by the FOM or alternatively can demonstrate via experience knowledge on the subject.

When considering competency to undertake health surveillance for noise, then identify whether they hold a certificate in Industrial Audiometry which complies with the British society of audiology syllabus or hold professional medical qualifications in audiology.

Obtain evidence that they regularly calibrate for example there audiometry equipment and have access to sound proof booths.

Where the OHSP is nurse or technician (for audiometry) lead then there is a need to ensure that they have access to a competent occupational health physician to ensure diagnosis.

The service level agreement needs to establish what information is to be provided to the OHSP by the employer ie risk assessment and what the OHSP is expected to deliver and within agreed timetables.

The above can be summarised by the acronym SKATE which is:



Ensure that the feedback you receive from your occupational health service provider is presented in a format you understand and clearly indicates what actions need to be taken.  When setting the service level agreement up this can be resolved by asking to see example reports.

If you don't understand something ask for clarification

Establish regular meetings with relevant managers (not just the HR department) and your OHSP.  The importance of this is that providing this facility ensures the OHSP is aware of any changes in your workplace with regard processes or equipment and can revise any feedback they need to make on an individual or in anonymised reports.

Feedback from your OHSP needs to be fed back to all relevant levels of the management chain and that actions are followed up promptly by the management chain.

When implementing your health surveillance policy ensure that it is clear where individual responsibilities lie and that there is sign off by appropriate managers at all stages in the process.

Where feedback from the OHSP makes recommendations for control measures then you need to ensure that you collate feedback from employees and line managers on the effectiveness of these control changes for example maintenance issues.

When the OHSP is providing feedback for it to be effective it needs to understand your workplace, your needs and be familiar with the processes and equipment you use.

Management of affected workers

Establish clear policies on what employees are responsible for when having to undertake health surveillance at the request of an employer.

Understand that even if an employee asks to be exempt from this requirement that an employer cannot relinquish this duty.

Every employee who presents with the effects of vibration needs to be managed as an individual and if their employment within the existing activity is not possible every effort should be explored to ensure alternative employment within the company.

Employee educational strategies need to be developed so that the employee is aware of the purpose of health surveillance and:

  1. That it is not to get rid of individuals who are at risk
  2. Explain for example HAVS if left undiagnosed could result in them being seriously disabled and affect there earning ability.

New employees and affected employees need to appreciate honesty is required especially regarding disclosure on non-work related activities where there is a risk of significant noise and vibration exposure.  This disclosure needs to be treated sympathetically as these individuals may need further advice to explain the additional risks they are placing on themselves.

Winter 2008

Health Surveillance for Noise and Vibration (Event now fully booked)

Birmingham City Football Club, 19 November 2008

Specialist Occupational Health Inspectors will be on hand to provide professional advice along with Occupational Health Providers

Autumn 2007

EEF/HSE Vibration surgeries 2007

Sharing experiences, good practice and lessons learnt

Following the success of the EEF/HSE Noise and Vibration Roadshows HSE is continuing its partnership with EEF – The Manufacturers organisation, to hold four vibration surgery events. The aim is to share experiences, lessons learnt and good practice in implementing the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. The surgeries focus on hand-arm vibration.

The surgeries are for anyone using machinery or hand-held vibrating tools or other vibrating equipment who would like to learn more and share their experiences in managing vibration risks.

What are the surgeries about?

The surgeries will tackle four main areas:-

and will aim to answer (with HSE Vibration and Occupational Health specialists) any other questions which you have.

Who should attend the surgeries

Managing Directors, Production Managers, Health and Safety Advisers, Safety representatives etc

Dates, locations and booking:

January 2007

31 January and 1 February 2007 - Executive Hire Show at Ricoh Arena, Coventry

HSE, Executive Hire News and Hire Association Europe worked together to run a series of health and safety seminars for the hire industry at the Executive Hire Show, which was held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on 31 January and 1 February 2007.

At the Show three HSE Specialists gave presentations:

July 2006

7 July - Worker Involvement Launch Event

A one-day training event for companies piloting worker involvement schemes to increase worker awareness and involvement in noise and hand-arm vibration control in construction and manufacturing sectors.

10 July - Noise and Vibration Programme Launch Event

A one-day event aimed at construction, heavy fabrication, shipbuilding and foundry industries to discuss high vibration processes, controlling hand-arm vibration and other related projects.

During 2006/07 HSE's Noise and Noise and Vibration Programme is focusing on hand-arm vibration (HAV) at work. HSE will be targeting its efforts on activities known to cause high exposures to HAV, in the construction, heavy fabrication, shipbuilding and foundry industries. We have already identified high vibration processes for which there are reasonably practicable alternatives, but we need to work with industry to help develop the next generation of controls. See our new online Good practice solutions (inspection campaign 2006/2007).

This event is aimed at industries known to have potentially high exposures to HAV and gives them an opportunity to learn about our forthcoming plans, and the collaboration we wish to establish with industry, in order to address the challenges posed by the new Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.

There is also information on:

June 2006

Noise and vibration roadshow 2006 - Managing the risks

Four roadshows held in London, Bridgend, Sheffield and Warrington. They were arranged for those who missed the roadshow in 2005.

July 2005

6 July 2005 - The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 came into force

If you are an employer or adviser see the Advice for employers pages. If you are an employee see the Worried about your hands pages.