Hand Arm Vibration

Hand-Arm Vibration is vibration transmitted from work processes into workers’ hands and arms. It can be caused by operating handheld power tools, such as road breakers, and hand-guided equipment, such as powered lawnmowers, or by holding materials being processed by machines, such as pedestal grinders.

Regular and frequent exposure to Hand-Arm Vibration can lead to permanent health effects. This is most likely when contact with a vibrating tool or work process is a regular part of a person’s job. Occasional exposure is unlikely to cause ill health.

Hand-Arm Vibration can cause a range of conditions collectively known as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), as well as specific diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Identifying signs and symptoms at an early stage is important. It will allow you, as the employer, to take action to prevent the health effects from becoming serious for your employee.

The symptoms of Hand Arm Vibration include any combination of:

•    Tingling and numbness in the fingers


•    Not being able to feel things properly


•    Loss of strength in the hands


•    The fingers going white (blanching) and becoming red and painful on recovery


For some people, symptoms may appear after only a few months of exposure, but for others they may take a few years. They are likely to get worse with continued exposure to vibration and may become permanent.

The effects of Hand-Arm Vibration on people include:

•    Pain, distress and sleep disturbance

•    Inability to do fine work or everyday tasks

•    Reduced ability to work in cold conditions which would trigger painful finger blanching attacks

•    Reduced grip strength which might affect the ability to do work safely

These effects can severely limit the jobs an affected person is able to do, as well as many family and social activities.

PDF Downloads

UK HSE - Control The Risks From Hand Arm Vibration.

Advice for employers on the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

UK HSE - Hand Arm Vibration Of Horticultural Machinery

Research report on HAV re agriculture, horticulture, landscape gardening - 2011.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

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