Exposure to hand–arm vibration: implications of new statutory requirements

Edwards, David J. and Holt, Gary David (2005) Exposure to hand–arm vibration: implications of new statutory requirements. Building Research & Information, 33 (3). pp. 257-266. ISSN 0961-3218

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613210500082552


One particular source of vibration exposure for manual workers results from using hand-held power tools. This is generally termed exposure to hand–arm vibration (HAV). Potential negative health effects from HAV were identified at the turn of the 20th century and have become more scientifically understood since then. Due to the nature of its activities, the construction industry is one industry sector representing significant HAV exposure risk. As of July 2005, the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (CVWR) incorporate HAV into the UK workplace health and safety statute. Implications of the CVWR upon the construction sector are explored, particularly in the context of how construction activities may be affected by the new HAV exposure action and limit values. The paper also demonstrates potential ‘problems’ of considering (equipment) manufacturers' vibration data with those resulting from measurement of equipment at the workplace. It is concluded that due to limits on operator exposure times to higher vibration tools, the UK construction sector must ultimately come to terms with what will effectively represent an influential change in many of its on-site working practices.

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