Controlling the risks from hand arm vibration

The purpose of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 is to make sure that people do not suffer damage to their health from hand-arm vibration – so controlling the risks from exposure to hand-arm vibration should be where you concentrate your efforts.

Wherever there is exposure to hand-arm vibration, above the EAV, you should be looking for alternative processes, equipment and/or working methods which would eliminate or reduce exposure or mean people are exposed for shorter times. You should also be keeping up with what is good practice for vibration control within your industry.

Where there are things you can do to reduce risks from vibration, that are reasonably practicable, they should be done. However, where vibration exposures are below the EAV, risks are low and so you would only be expected to take actions, which are relatively inexpensive and simple to carry out.

Where your assessment shows that your employees are likely to be exposed at or above the Exposure Action Values, you must put in place a planned programme of vibration control.

How do I use the information from my risk assessment?

When you have identified who is at risk, you need to decide how you can reduce the risks. You must do all that is reasonable to control the risk. First, prepare an action plan for and deal with the high-risk work tasks. Then address the medium and lower-risk activities.

Risk Controls

Risk controls include:

Alternative work methods

Example: Use a breaker attachment on an excavating machine to break concrete rather than using a hand-held breaker.

Equipment selection

Example: To cut large holes in brickwork, use a diamond-tipped hole-cutting drill bit with a rotary action rather than a tungsten-tipped hole bit which requires rotary and hammer action.

Purchasing policy for replacing old equipment and tools

Work equipment is likely to be replaced over time as it becomes worn out, and it is important that you choose replacements, so far as is reasonably practicable, which are suitable for the work, efficient and of lower vibration.

Example: If a breaker has vibration-isolating handles, check how the machine must be operated to ensure the reduced vibration levels are achieved in use and ensure your operators have the necessary training.

Workstation design

Example: Where a heavy grinder is used at a permanent workstation to do repetitive work, suspend it from a counterbalance system to reduce the load on the operator's arms and the tightness of grip needed.


Example: Check and sharpen chainsaw teeth regularly (following the manufacturer's recommendations) to maintain the chainsaw's efficiency and to reduce the time it takes to complete the work.

Work schedules

Example: Organise employees to work in teams where they switch tasks within the team to avoid individuals having unnecessarily high exposure to vibration.


How do I know if the steps I have taken to control risks are working?

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