Heavy steel fabrication (including shipyards)
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)|
Manual cutting of steel plate and re-working to correct component profile using:
Expect to see accurate pre-prep, cutting components to correct size, with a minimum of "green" . "Measure twice, cut once." Significant exposures from rework using grinders etc. should be challenged.
Select suitable modern, precision processes for cutting out, as appropriate:
Note: improving accuracy and minimising manual reworking is also usually cost-effective.
|Weld preparation and finishing using tools as above||
|Removing fairing aids, lifting lugs, etc. using grinders||
Design fairing and lifting processes to avoid temporary welded aids which must be removed by grinding.
Surface preparation using:
scaling hammers (piston type)
deck planers, leaf-type scalers, peening tools
Cleaning steel surfaces and preparing for painting. Use of scaling tools should be minimised (small and awkward areas only) and modern vibration-reduced tools should be used.
Where reasonably practicable an appropriate alternative process should be used, for example:
Note 1: Changes of process to eliminate or reduce vibration may introduce other hazards to safety or health or safety (eg chemical, fume, spatter, noise, dust) which must be addressed and managed.
Note 2: For shipyards, HSE policy since 1998 has been to serve an Improvement Notice for action plan/control where no progress has been made; Prohibition Notice for old design chipping or scaling tools used for more than 1 hour.
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? For example, percussive tools with suspension systems 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: