Vibration risk assessment

Vibration risk assessment -alasivu

Employers whose employees are exposed to vibration through their work have a duty to carry out a vibration risk assessment to determine the impact of the exposure to each worker’s health and safety. Vibration risk assessment can be incorporated into the workplace survey or conducted separately, and the results must be documented and the report kept available to employees.

A new assessment must be carried out whenever working conditions or procedures change to a degree that can significantly increase or decrease workers’ exposure. A new assessment must also be carried out if an employee is diagnosed with a medical condition believed to be due to vibration.

The employer’s vibration risk assessment can also conclude that there is little vibration exposure in the workplace and that no vibration-related health implications are expected for other reasons either. In such circumstances, no further action need be taken.

Objective of vibration risk assessment

The objective of vibration risk assessment is to help the employer to choose the correct ways to prevent or minimise their employees’ exposure to vibration. Vibration risk assessment involves

  • determining whether there are any health or safety risks in the workplace that are caused or exacerbated by vibration
  • determining workers’ exposure levels and comparing them against the exposure action value and the limit value
  • identifying ways to lower the risk
  • selecting actions to lower and monitor risks posed by vibration, and
  • documenting the findings of the assessment, the actions taken and their results.

Factors to be taken into account in vibration risk assessment

Vibration risk assessments must cover the following:

  • the level, type and duration of exposure, including any exposure to intermittent vibration or repeated shocks
  • the exposure action values and limit values
  • any effects concerning the health and safety of workers particularly at risk
  • any difficulty in handling controls or reading meters resulting from vibration
  • any structural damage or failures caused by vibration
  • information provided by the manufacturers of work equipment on vibration emissions and vibration protection
  • the existence of replacement equipment designed to reduce the levels of exposure to mechanical vibration
  • the extension of exposure to whole-body vibration beyond normal working hours under the employer’s responsibility (e.g. on board ships)
  • specific working conditions that can exacerbate or mitigate the harmful effects, such as low temperatures and night work, and
  • appropriate information obtained from health surveillance, including published information.