HSE hand-arm vibration syndrome inspections – what to expect

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), nearly two million people are at risk of developing hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). It’s a condition that can cause a permanent and painful numbness and tingling in the hands and arms, as well as painful joints and muscle weakening.

The HSE carries out inspections within organisations whose employers may be exposed to vibration at work which could lead to them developing HAVS, to determine how the risks are being managed. But what exactly will they be looking for?

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 place duties on employers to protect those who may be at risk of developing HAVS. Vibration is also a causal factor for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

HSE guidance

The HSE ‘Hand-arm Vibration: Inspection and Enforcement Guidance’ is intended for use by inspectors when inspecting activities involving vibration. The HSE has made it available so that employers are better prepared to deal with managing HAVS.

The guidance states that HAVS should be a matter of evident concern when:

• Exposure is likely to be at or above the Exposure Action Value (EAV)
• There is evidence of vibration-related ill health e.g. HAVS or CTS not being properly managed
• Employees report tingling when using vibrating tools, which persis

An improvement notice may be issued if the EAV is likely to be exceeded regularly and frequently, if exposure is not as low as reasonably practicable and if the remaining risk is not appropriately managed. Failure to appropriately manage the remaining risk may be not having a health surveillance programme and not providing appropriate information, instruction and training. In cases of very high vibration exposure, such as above the exposure limit value, the HSE inspector may also decide to issue a prohibition notice.

Minimise the risks

Aegis Services Limited has employees fully qualified and experienced in carrying out hand-arm vibration assessments, and the latest state-of-the-art measuring equipment. You can read about our investment into our service here. We can carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment, backed up by a comprehensive report with recommendations to ensure full compliance.

Speak to a member of our team today for more information on how we can support your organisation.