Table 1: Alternative processes to avoid/reduce use of vibrating equipment
This table identifies alternative methods for specified high risk activities or processes; and links to further information and case studies.
A PDF version of table 1 is also available. It includes example vibration magnitudes and the corresponding times to reach the exposure action and limit values.
|Activity or process||Alternative methods||Further information (links)|
|Tunnelling by hand with clay spade or jigger pick.||Mechanised tunnelling methods, to eliminate hand digging. This is expected for all but the smallest tunnelling jobs.|
Breaking concrete, asphalt, etc. with hand-operated breakers in ground work, road maintenance, etc.
Demolition of concrete/masonry using hand-held hammers/breakers
Plan construction work (e.g. casting-in ducts, detail box-outs) to minimise breaking through new concrete/masonry.
Use alternative method/equipment as appropriate:
|Pile cropping using hand-held hammers/breakers||
Pile cap removal using hand-operated breakers is not acceptable. Use alternative method as appropriate:
Note: some dressing using hand-operated tools may still be required.
hammer type scabblers
pole type scabblers
Scabbling purely for architectural aesthetic effect is not acceptable. Specify finishes that do not require scabbling. (Some finishes can be designed into shuttering using special moulds or chemical retardants and water jetting.)
Surface preparation to ensure a good concrete bond. Use alternative methods where technically appropriate:
|Wall chasing using hand-held breakers||
Construction Industry Council guidance
Drilling masonry/concrete using:
electric hammer drills or “combihammers”
Design and plan to avoid unnecessary drilling. Use, where appropriate:
Note 1: changes of process to eliminate or reduce vibration may introduce other hazards to health (e.g. noise, dust) or safety which must be addressed and managed (e.g. hazards associated with lifting operations in some mechanised methods for pile cap removal).
Table 2: Management of HAV risks where use of vibrating equipment is unavoidable
A PDF version of table 2 is also available.
|Issue||Expectation||References and related guidance|
|Selection of work equipment||
Tool selection can make a substantial difference to the vibration level but the tool must be suitable for the task and used correctly.
Employers should demonstrate a sound procurement policy for power tools and hand-guided machines, showing they have considered the following:
|Limiting daily exposure time||
Restricting exposure time (“finger-on-trigger” time) may be required to bring exposures below the ELV, even after all reasonably practicable measures to reduce vibration levels are in place.
Maximum times can be determined using the exposure points system or supplier’s “traffic lights” tool categories, but these should be derived from sound “real use” vibration emission values.
Note: Employers tend to ask “How long can we use this tool?” The exposure must be reduced to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable (Reg 6(2)), so the ELV should not be used as a target, if a lower exposure is reasonably practicable.
|Other risk controls||
Control of HAVS risk by means other than reducing vibration exposure:
|Information, instruction and training||
Employees at risk from vibration should have received information on:
Look for evidence that tools are being used correctly, as recommended by the manufacturer. This may require operators to receive specified training – are operators and their supervisors aware of the need? In particular, breakers with suspended (sprung) handles designed to absorb vibration must be used correctly, and with appropriate force, or the potential reduction in vibration will not be achieved.
Required where the EAV is likely to be exceeded. Expect to see, as a minimum:
In construction, short-term employment presents difficulties for managing health surveillance; cooperation between employers should be encouraged.