Hand-Arm Vibration (HAVS)

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 covers hand-arm vibration (HAVS) and whole body vibration.  Under Regulation 7, if the risk assessment indicates that there is a risk to the health of employees from vibration, or that employees are likely to be exposed to vibration at or above the exposure action value (currently 2.5ms-2A(8)) there is a requirement for the employer to place employees under suitable health surveillance.  All employees who already have HAVS should have health surveillance if they are exposed to vibration at work.

Employers will find detailed guidelines on risk assessment and risk management in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance book L140 'Hand-Arm Vibration'.

The HSE recommends five tiers of health surveillance for HAVS.  These are:

  •   tier 1 - initial questionnaire for those starting to work with vibrating tools.
  •   tier 2 - annual questionnaire for those working with vibrating tools.
  •   tier 3 - a HAVS health assessment by a qualified person such as an occupational health nurse.
  •   tier 4 - a formal diagnosis by a doctor qualified in occupational health.
  •   tier 5 - an optional referral for special tests to help the doctor make the diagnosis and provide advice on fitness for work.