Health Surveillance for Vibration

Work Place Activity or Hazard:

Use of vibrating tools as identified through risk assessment and in line with Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005

This applies where vibration is transmitted into workers’ hands and arms. This can come from use of

  • hand-held power tools (such as grinders, chain saws, sanders),
  • hand guided equipment (such as powered lawnmowers, strimmers)
  • by holding materials being worked on (such as pedestal grinders)
  • any handheld vibrating tools or machines, for example hand held vortex machines

Health Surveillance requirements:

Health surveillance is required where employee(s)

• are likely to be regularly exposed above the action value of 2.5 m/s2 A(8); and a daily exposure limit value(ELV) of 5m/s2A(8)

 • are likely to be exposed occasionally above the action value and where the risk assessment identifies that the frequency and severity of exposure may pose a risk to health; or

 • have a diagnosis of HAVS (even when exposed below the action value).

Department Action:

(Guidance on how to establish if Health Surveillance requirements are met (as part of your risk assessment))

Complete a HS1 form and register with UOHS for health surveillance where the criteria in column 3 are met following a risk assessment of work processes identifying vibration exposures.

To establish whether the EAV and ELV are likely to be exceeded please refer to:

Vibration magnitude guidance  (in particular Table 1) in conjunction with the Exposure ready reckoner


the Vibration Exposure Calculator

Powered hand-tools, regular and frequent use of modern, well-designed, well maintained tools is likely to result in exposure at or above the EAV after:

  • the use of a hammer action tool for about 15 minutes;
  • the use of non-hammer action tools for about one hour.

The exposure limit value is likely to be reached after:

  • use of a hammer action tool for about one hour;
  • use of non-hammer action tools for about four hours.

Using more than one tool results in cumulative exposure.

Note. Damaged, poorly maintained and very old models of equipment may be hazardous even when used for very short periods. Regular maintenance regimes and replacement polices should be implemented.

UOHS will decide on the appropriate HS programme, this will include a baseline assessment for new starters/ prior to work starting.

Occupational Health Action:

(Following receipt of an appropriate registration form)

UOHS will send the employee a HAVS questionnaire

The employee may be enrolled onto a HAVS  health surveillance programme

HAVS Health surveillance will be under the supervision of a HAVS trained healthcare professional.

Further Information:

M5/21 - Hand-Arm Vibration | Safety Office (

HSE HAV Guidance

Hand arm vibration at work (

Hand-arm vibration - The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 (L140) (

Please refer to your supervisor, departmental or divisional/ area safety officer if you need further assistance in interpreting this information and how it relates to the work, and the risk assessment that is being undertaken.