The document below sets out the policy and procedures that should be adopted within the University to manage vibration risks.
Exposure to excessive levels of vibration can, over time, lead to physical damage to nerves, muscles, blood vessels and joints the body and to long term health problems. Workers may suffer such exposure to their hands when using certain types of hand held tools over prolonged periods of time. This is known as hand arm vibration.
Another type of vibration exposure can happen when using some types of ride-on plant or equipment. This type of exposure is known as whole-body vibration and can aggravate or cause problems such as sore backs.
To combat the risk of excessive expsoure to vibration the "Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005” set exposure level limits for both types of vibration in the form of an Exposure Action Value (EAV) and an Exposure Limit Value (ELV). These are daily individual limits on vibration exposure.
Management Units must take steps to identify work than may involve possible vibration exposure, assess the risks from such exposure and take measures to control those risks. Where exposure above the EAV is forseeable, a formal programme of control measures will be required. Written risk assessments will normally always be required where there is significant vibration exposure. The following template may be used to assist with the risk assessment process and The template should be amended as required to reflect the nature of the work being assessed and should be amended by the assessor to reflect the level of risk involved in the task being considered.
If exposure is assessed as likely to exceed the Exposure Action Level, suitable information, instruction, training, and supervision must be provided to all employees at risk. Health surveillance is also required. Postgraduate students who may have significant vibration exposure as a result of actvities authorised by the University should be regarded as if there were employees and similar control measures put in place.
No worker is allowed to be exposed to vibraton levels above the ELV. Control of exposure will usually require replacement of equipment/modification of the task, reduction of individual worker exposure time by job rotation or a combination of both. Removal of the vibation risk is the preferred option. Where control of expsoure time is used as a control measure records of working time on each item of equipment may be required to fully demonstrate compliance with the regulations.
The aim should always be to reduce exposure to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.