Do you Vibrate too much at work?

29 May 2007
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United Kingdom
This was only shown to me recently as I was browsing the Black and Decker website; apparently there is registration in the UK to save people from vibrating too much at work whilst using power tools?!

Black and Decker have even gone as far as including a "Vibrate-O-Meter" which checks if you have gone over the limit?

This from the Black and Decker site

The Physical Agents Directive 2002/44/EC became law in July 2005. This directive introduced ‘Control Of Vibration At Work’ regulations, placing duties on employers to protect workers from vibration and reduce exposure levels. How Exposure Occurs:
What you need to know about Hand Arm Vibration (HAV)

What is HAV?
HAV is vibration transmitted from work processes into workers’ hands and arms. It can be caused by operating hand-held power tools such as roadbreakers, hand-guided equipment such as lawn mowers, or by holding materials being processed by machines such as pedestal grinders.

Exposure to HAV can occur in all industries where hand-held power tools and machines are used. Workers may be exposed to HAV when operating power tools such as rotary hammers or grinders. Exposure may result in a range of ill health effects collectively known as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS. The most well known health effect is vibration white finger, but other effects include damage to sensory nerves, muscles and joints in the hands and arms.

Whole Body Vibration (WBV)
Look out for WBV risks where any commercial/industrial/construction vehicles are driven regularly for most of the day. Drivers of mobile machines, including certain tractors, fork lift trucks and qaurrying or earth-moving machinery, may be exposed to WBV and shocks which are associated with back pain. Other work factors, such as posture and heavy lifting, are also known to contribute to back problems for drivers. The relative importance of WBV is not clear at present. The DEWALT website does not cover WBV. For more information see

The risks can be controlled by good management such as using the correct tool for the job.

Buying new equipment - some useful tips:
Introduce a vibration purchasing policy in consultation with your managers and safety or employee representatives. Through this policy you should ensure that any decisions are made on the correct tri-axial data as opposed to single-axis data. If it is not specified then you should assume the data is single-axis and treat it accordingly (see 'Measurement Section'). In addition, ensure that you are not purchasing poor performing tools which take longer to complete the task and could ultimately lead to higher exposure to vibration. A high performance to vibration ratio is key.

Try working out your tools vibration level using the DEWALT Exposure Calculator at

Anyone known to suffer from this HAV? I must say I've never come across it.
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Hmmm. yes. I know about this, I got white finger from using an air powered lettering chisel on stone for too long. It comes and goes, worst when the weather gets cold. It gets really anoying, it is similar to when you get a dead leg from sitting badly, only on your fingers.
I eventually bought some anti-vibration gloves, which might have helped a bit, but made the tool virtually unusable as they were so clumsy.

real p1sser is that as one of the lowly self employed I cant even claim any of the lovely compensation that the info above hints at so tantalizingly.

Now I have gone back to doing lettering the old fashioned way, with a mallet, and have a whole new attitude when it comes to 'labour saving' devices.
Nah don't think I'll buy that nail gun.
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