Do hand-arm vibration measurements need to be taken ‘on the tool’?

Yes. Hand-arm vibration measurements should be made with the transducer firmly attached to the vibrating surface.

Hand-held mounts are not generally recommended but may be used with care such that you ensure there is good and continuous contact with the vibrating surface.

Any measurement away from the palm of the hand or where the measurement position is on the back of the hand, fingers or wrist is unlikely to provide reliable measurement. Further advice is given in BS EN ISO 5349-2:2001.

There is currently no wrist or glove mounted device which measures vibration suitable for use in a vibration risk assessment. If a hand-arm vibration measurement system is to be used, then it should measure according to the requirements of BS EN ISO 5349-1: 2001.

This standard specifies that vibration measurements shall be made on the vibrating surface at the point where the vibration enters the hand (or hands).

In addition to the measurement methodology standard any equipment used to measure hand-arm vibration magnitudes should comply with BS EN ISO 8041:2005.

It is important that measurements are not carried out in isolation. You should be confident that the measurements you obtain are reasonable for the machines or tools being used.

Verification of results by comparison with data from other sources is strongly recommended, e.g. HSE guidance, machine manufacturers, and trade associations.