Hand Arm and Whole Body Vibration Assessments

SOCOTEC has a network of laboratories to provide a range of on-site occupational hygiene services throughout the country including hand arm vibration monitoring and assessments.

Our Services Include:

  • Measurement and assessment of hand-arm vibration using human-vibration meters and tri-axial accelerometers
  • Measurement and assessment of whole body vibration
  • Calculation of maximum permitted daily usage
  • Consultancy and advice on control strategies
  • Problem solving
  • Interpretation of regulations and procedures


Hand - Arm Vibration

Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) is a major cause of occupational ill health and it is estimated around five million workers are exposed to HAV in the workplace. Two million of these workers are exposed to levels of vibration where there are clear risks of developing disease. Workers whose hands are regularly exposed to high vibration may suffer from several kinds of injury to the hands and arm, which can include: Vascular disorders, generally known as ‘vibration induced white finger’ which cause impaired blood circulation, blanching of affected fingers and parts of the hand Neurological and muscular damage leading to numbness and tingling in the fingers and hands, reducing grip strength and dexterity, and reduced sensitivity both of touch and to temperature. Other possible (less understood) kinds of damage leading to pain and stiffness in the hands and joints of the wrists, elbows and shoulders Collectively the injuries are known as ‘hand-arm vibration syndrome’ (HAVS), which is a painful disease and is widespread in those industries where vibratory tools and machines are used.


Whole Body Vibration

Whole body vibration is shaking or jolting of the human body through a supporting surface (usually the seat or the floor), for example when driving or riding on a vehicle along an unmade road, operating earth moving machines or forklift trucks, or driving rail vehicles or machinery. Lower back problems arise from degeneration in the spinal vertebra or degeneration of the discs causing compression and pain. The lower back muscles can also become weakened, increasing the risk of injury through twisting or manual handling. Each year, approximately 3,000 new claims for Industrial Injury Disability Benefit are made in relation to vibration white finger and vibration related carpal tunnel syndrome. The Medical Research Council also estimates that 150,000 people suffer from back pain attributable to riding on industrial vehicles (Whole Body Vibration, WBV).


Legal Requirements

New regulations that help both employers and employees to take preventive action from vibration risks in the workplace came into force on 6 July 2005. The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations specify ‘Exposure action values’ (EAV) and ‘Exposure limit values’ (ELV). An exposure action value is the exposure level when action specified in the regulations must be taken. An exposure limit value is the maximum permitted exposure to vibration for an individual worker. The Regulations require employers to:

  • Reduce exposure to harmful levels of vibration to a minimum
  • Assess the vibration risk to employees
  • Provide information and training to those exposed
  • Implement measures to reduce exposure
  • Provide health surveillance when action levels are reached in order to ensure exposure is below the exposure limit value


Other Occupational Hygiene Services

SOCOTEC’s occupational hygiene expertise is not limited to human vibration monitoring. Other services include:

  • Measurement and assessment of exposure to hazardous substances (dusts, fumes, solvents)
  • Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) performance and assessment
  • Noise surveys, exposure assessment, dosimetry and control
  • Radiation monitoring
  • Workplace comfort conditions