What is hand-arm vibration?

Hand-arm vibration is vibration transmitted from work processes into a workers’Hand(s) and arm(s).

It can be caused by operating hand-held power tools, such as road or rock breakers, and hand-held equipment, such as lawnmowers .

When is it a hazard ?

Regular and frequent exposure to hand-arm vibration can lead to permanent health effects. This is most likely when contact with a vibrating tool or work process is a regular part of a person’s day to day job.  During occasional exposure it is unlikely to cause ill health.

What health effects can it cause?

Hand-arm vibration can cause a range of conditions collectively known as hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), as well as diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Spot the early symptoms,Identifying the signs and symptoms is important. It will allow you, and your employer, to take steps to prevent the health effects from becoming serious. The symptoms can include any combination of:

Tingling and numbness in the fingers;

Problems being able to feel things properly;

Losing strength in the hands;

Fingers going white and becoming red and painful, especially in cold weather

What jobs and tools produce a risk?

Jobs requiring regular and frequent use of vibrating tools or equipment and handling of vibrating materials are found in a wide range of jobs and industries;

Building and maintenance of roads or civil engineering jobs and construction;

Grounds management (parks, rivers, road and rail-side verges);

Mines or quarries;

Motor vehicle manufacture and repair

What kinds of tools and equipment can cause ill health from vibration?

  • chainsaws;
  • concrete breakers/road breakers;
  • hammer drills;
  • hand-held grinders;
  • jigsaws
  • pedestal grinders;
  • polishers;
  • power hammers and chisels;
  • powered lawn mowers;
  • powered sanders;
  • scabblers;
  • strimmers/brush cutters.


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