Health & Safety, An Introduction to


Are you exposed to vibration?

Vibration from work with powered hand-held tools, equipment or processes can damage the hands and arms of users causing ‘hand-arm vibration syndrome’. This is a painful, irreversible condition which includes ‘vibration white finger’ and the effects can be impaired blood circulation, damage to the nerves and muscles, and loss of ability to grip properly.

Back damage can be caused by vibration from a vehicle or machine passing through the seat into the driver’s body through the buttocks – known as “whole-body vibration”. Whole body vibration can also be caused by standing on the platform of a vehicle or machine, so vibration passes into the operator through their feet.

Does this concern me?

Does anyone work with powered handtools such as angle grinders, needle guns, chipping hammers or concrete breakers?

Does anyone doing this work get tingling or numbness in the fingers or hands?

Does anyone often drive off-road machinery such as tractors, dumper trucks or excavators or unsuspended vehicles such as fork-lift trucks?

What law applies?

No specific regulations. Covered by the general requirements of:

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

How and where you can get more help

‘Health risks from hand-arm vibration : Advice for employers’ INDG175 (rev1) FREE (available in packs of 10 ISBN 0 7176 1553 7 £5.00)

‘Vibration solutions’ HSG170 ISBN 0 7176 0954 5 £13.75

‘Health risks from vibration white finger: Advice for employees and the self employed’ INDG126 (rev1) FREE (available in packs of 15 ISBN 0 7176 1554 5 £5.00)

‘Hand-arm vibration’ HSG88 ISBN 0 7176 0743 7 £7.50

‘Power tools : how to reduce vibration health risks’ INDG338 FREE (available in packs of 15 ISBN 0 7176 2008 5 £5.00)

‘In the driving seat: Advice to employers on reducing back pain in drivers and machinery operators’ INDG242 FREE (available in packs of 10 ISBN 0 7176 1314 3 £5.00)

You can order any of these titles through HSE Books.

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