Vibration control

Vibration control -alasivu

Where daily vibration exposure exceeds the action value, the employer must establish and implement a vibration control programme. A vibration control programme sets out the steps that the employer intends to take to minimise vibration exposure and the associated health and safety risks. The actions must be chosen and prioritised on the basis of the findings of the employer’s vibration risk assessment.

The employer’s vibration control programme must cover all processes, machinery and equipment that cause significant levels of vibration in the workplace and explain the steps that the employer intends to take in each case to reduce the magnitude of vibration, shorten the period of exposure or minimise the harmful effects of vibration otherwise. The employer must also set deadlines for the actions and appoint individuals to take responsibility for their implementation in order to monitor the progress of the programme.

Examples of actions to be included in a vibration control programme

In an ideal scenario, processes that expose workers to vibration can be eliminated altogether by modifying the product structure or introducing new manufacturing or transport methods. If this is not possible, the hazards and risks posed by vibration exposure must be reduced by as much as possible.

If workers’ vibration exposure levels are high enough to warrant the adoption of a vibration control programme, the following remedial actions should be considered:

  • the introduction of other working methods that require less exposure to mechanical vibration or exposures of shorter duration
  • the introduction of work equipment that produces the least possible vibration
  • the provision of auxiliary equipment that reduces the risk of injuries caused by vibration, such as handles that reduce the vibration transmitted to the hand-arm system or seats that effectively reduce whole-body vibration
  • the adoption of maintenance programmes for work equipment, access routes and workplace infrastructure
  • the repositioning of workstations so as to minimise the need to move objects around and the associated vibration exposure
  • the redesigning of workstations so as to make controls easier to access without reaching, twisting or having to sit in uncomfortable positions
  • the redesigning of workstations so that tools do not need to be squeezed and so that no twisting of the wrist, elbow or shoulder or pinching or stretching of the fingers is required
  • the provision of adequate information to instruct workers to follow procedures and use work equipment so as to reduce their exposure to mechanical vibration to a minimum
  • the introduction of a job rotation system so as to minimise the duration of each worker’s exposure to vibration and the magnitude of vibration
  • the planning of workdays so as to give workers who use vibrating hand-held tools or vehicles periods of less or no exposure to vibration
  • the provision of clothing to protect exposed workers from cold and damp, and
  • the provision of anti-vibration gloves to protect workers who are exposed to high-frequency hand-arm vibration.

Any of the aforementioned measures that are feasible in practice and can be implemented without unreasonable costs considering the magnitude of the risk must be included in the vibration control programme.