Understand vibration levels - Vibration - Healthy Working Lives

Vibration

Understand and minimise the effects of vibration

Exposure to vibration could have a negative effect on the health of your employees. It could damage joints, muscles, circulation and sensory nerves.

This could lead to considerable pain, time off or even disability.

Use the links below to find information on how to assess the risks, calculate vibration levels in your workplace and precautions you can take.

  1. Common vibration hazards and controls
  2. Understand vibration levels
  3. Precautions to reduce vibration
  4. Legal duties for vibration

3. Precautions to reduce vibration

​If you cannot eliminate vibration, you need to encourage early reporting of symptoms by employees and alter processes and procedures to minimise exposure. For example

  • select lower vibration tools and equipment
  • supply protective clothing to keep employees warm and dry
  • replace old, high vibrating tools and equipment with new, low vibrating ones
  • implement task rotation and time limits on activities with high exposure levels
  • ensure that equipment is right for the job, well maintained and in good condition
  • provide information and train employees in tool maintenance and usage, for example make sure they avoid gripping the tool too tightly.

Reducing whole body vibration (WBV)

Where WBV is an issue in vehicles, you should

  • fit suspension seats or use vehicles with suspended driver's cabs
  • make sure vehicles are well maintained, including suspension systems
  • check driving seats to ensure that they are well sprung and give adequate support
  • provide information and advice on safe posture, sitting position and use of vehicles and machinery
  • fix damping material to floor panels and other vibrating surfaces to reduce engine vibration transferred to the operator
  • choose a suitable vehicle for the ground conditions and activity, selecting appropriate tyres that are inflated to the correct pressure for the job.

For operators who have to stand while operating vibrating machinery you should

  • mount fixed machinery on anti-vibration mounts
  • use rubber mats and provide shoes with thick rubber soles
  • operate the machine remotely from a vibration free area where possible.

Job design and planning

You should use work methods that avoid vibration. Reducing the amount of time that employees use equipment is a simple way of limiting exposure. For example

  • use pre-form openings in concrete to avoid the need for core-cutting
  • use special formwork or treat poured concrete to avoid the need for scabbling
  • use a guillotine to cut metal accurately to remove the need for trimming with a grinder
  • talk to designers during the planning phase to reduce the need for excessive cuts on site.

Find out more

You can find more information on precautions to reduce vibration in our publication, Health risks at work.

Go to our Health risks at work publication​