Understand and minimise the effects of vibration

Precautions to reduce vibration

‚ÄčIf 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.