Vibration - Yleistä

 

General information on topic

Vibration that enters the body at the fingers or the palms of the hands when a person handles a vibrating object is called hand-arm vibration, and vibration that enters the body when a person is sitting, standing or lying on a vibrating surface is known as whole-body vibration.

Hand-arm vibration from hand-held tools can damage circulation, the nervous system, tendons, muscles and bones. Jobs involving vibration can cause what is known as “vibration white finger” as well as vibration-induced neuropathy, which is a recognised occupational disease. Whole-body vibration is known to cause back pain and spinal injuries. It is therefore important to control the hazards and risks associated with jobs involving vibration.

The law lays down exposure action values and limit values for vibration. If the action values are exceeded, employers must take action to reduce vibration hazards and risks. The limit value must not be exceeded.

Vibration - Työntekijälle

 

Instructions for employee

If your work involves using vibrating tools or vehicles, you can ask your employer to show you their vibration exposure and risk assessment reports.

If the vibration levels involved in your work exceed the exposure action value, you must attend regular health examinations performed by your employer’s occupational health care provider.

It is your duty as an employee to

  • perform your work as instructed by your employer so as to minimise your exposure to vibration
  • inform your employer of any faults or issues that are causing vibration in the workplace
  • eliminate any such faults or issues as instructed by your employer, if it is safe to do so with your training and experience, and
  • attend regular health examinations performed by your employer’s occupational health care provider, if the vibration levels in your work exceed an action value.

Vibration - Työnantajalle

 

Instructions for employer

The Finnish Vibration Decree (48/2005) lays down exposure action values and limit values for both hand-arm vibration and whole-body vibration. It also stipulates that it is the employer’s responsibility to identify any sources of vibration to which their employees could be exposed. If there are sources of vibration in the workplace, it is the employer’s duty to

  • identify the workers who are exposed, the circumstances in which exposure can occur and what the factors are that cause the exposure
  • either eliminate the sources of vibration or reduce the associated hazards by however much is possible using the latest technological means available
  • assess and, if necessary, measure the level and duration of each worker’s exposure to vibration and keep records of their employees’ exposure
  • evaluate the impact of vibration exposure to their employees’ health and safety (carry out a vibration risk assessment) and keep the assessment report up to date
  • establish and implement a vibration control programme if an exposure action value is exceeded
  • ensure that the limit value is not exceeded
  • take immediate action to reduce exposure and protect their employees if the limit value is exceeded
  • provide exposed workers with information about exposure and vibration risk assessments and their findings as well as instruction and training relating to vibration, and
  • ensure that their occupational health care provider identifies workers who are particularly sensitive to vibration and take special steps to protect these workers against the harmful effects of vibration.

If a worker is diagnosed with a disease or a health issue that is likely to have been caused by their exposure to vibration at work, the employer must review the appropriateness and effectiveness of the aforementioned measures. All other workers who have been exposed to vibration in the same circumstances must also undergo a health examination.

All workers who are exposed to vibration through their work must be given information about their exposure and the results of their vibration risk assessment. Workers must be able to use the information to compare their own exposure against the limit value and exposure action value and to satisfy themselves that all the most important aspects of their work and any factors that increase their sensitivity to vibration have been properly taken into account in the exposure and vibration risk assessment.

Exposed employees must also be explained

  • how the employer intends to eliminate or minimise the hazards and risks associated with vibration in the workplace
  • the limit values and exposure action values for vibration
  • the severity of each worker’s exposure based on assessments and measurements
  • the hazards and risks posed by vibrating tools to workers’ health and safety
  • how to perform their work safely
  • the symptoms of potential health issues resulting from vibration and the self-diagnosis of associated medical conditions, to whom symptoms and health issues should be reported and how, and
  • the operation of the employer’s occupational health care provider and how occupational health care professionals are monitoring each worker’s health.

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that their occupational health care provider monitors the health of any workers whose exposure exceeds an action value by means of regular health examinations.

Guidance on the implementation of the European Vibration Directive includes information about vibration, the estimation and calculation of vibration levels, the harmful effects of vibration and ways to reduce the risk.

Vibration - Lainsäädäntö

 

Legislation

Government Decree on the protection of workers from risks arising from vibration (48/2005, in Finnish)

Government Decree on medical examinations in work that presents a special risk of illness (1485/2001, as amended by Decree No 831/2005)

  • Section 4a – Exposure action values for factors that present a special risk of illness in medical examinations

Government Decree on the Safety of Machinery (400/2008, in Finnish)

  • Section 5 – Obligations of the manufacturer or their authorised representative
    • Annex I, section 1.5.9. Vibration
    • Annex I, section 2.2.1.1. Instructions
    • Annex I, section 3.6.3.1. Vibration

Government Decree on the List of Occupational Diseases (769/2015, in Finnish)