The HSS Guide to Reducing the Effects of Hand Arm Vibration

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 came into force on 6th July 2005. The regulations apply to anyone using equipment that could cause Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) and diseases like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Know the Facts:

  • Five million users of hand- held or hand- guided power tools.
  • Over one million users are at increased risk of disease because they are exposed to HAV above the action level set by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
  • 300,000 people are estimated to have advanced symptoms of vibration white finger.

Know the Effects:

Diseases which are caused by regular exposure to HAV include:

  • Vibration white finger.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Permanent and painful numbness and tingling in the hands and arms.
  • Painful joints and muscle weakening.
  • Damage to bones in the hands and arms.

Know the Limits

How long can I use a tool for?

The amount of time you can safely use equipment varies depending on the type of tool, its condition, the materials you are working with and the job you are doing.

It is essential that you check carefully to ensure you are not facing the risk of developing a hand-arm vibration-related disease, such as ‘vibration white finger’.

Calculating Risk Limits

The length of exposure to hand-arm vibration is measured in metres per second squared (m/s²). You are at greater risk if you use a tool rated above 2.5 m/s² throughout an 8-hour working day

Continuous use of a tool rated above 5.0 m/s² represents a dangerously high risk. If using a variety of tools see the table below.