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Hand Arm Vibration or HAV is a collective name for two main conditions: Vibration white finger and carpal tunnel syndrome. Vibration white finger cases are numbered around 600 a year. And the number of cases have decreased over the last decade. Out of the 7,520 new claims in the last 10 years, only 25 were females. With carpal tunnel syndrome, there were 260 new claims in 2015. And the number of claims have also reduced over the last decade. In the last 10 years, there were 3,860 cases and only 350 were female.

You can get hand-arm vibration from using power tools and machines. You have may felt the effects of vibration when you have cut the lawn at home. And after you have finished, your arms may be a little bit tingly, or you have less feeling in your arm. This is just short-term exposure. Short-term exposure to a little bit of vibration is generally not a major concern and it is something that we can cope with. The problem is, when you are starting to be exposed to long-term vibration, this can cause other problems within the body and can cause illness, discomfort and days off work.

So where there are vibration areas, we need to wear protective equipment, or anti-vibration systems may be needed to be installed. The sort of protection you can use can be thick gloves to absorb the vibration or using power tools with foam grips. There are lots of other different ways of controlling vibration and this will vary depending on the workplace and the jobs being carried out. It is estimated that around about 5 million people are potentially at risk from hand-arm vibration in the UK, so every employer needs to take this seriously. And if you think you are at risk, talk to your manager and see what can be done about reducing the vibration.

Finally, you can also suffer from whole body vibration. An example of this could be someone operating a digger and the vibration is transferred through the whole of your body. There are figures produced by the HSE on the maximum exposure someone can be exposed to any type of vibration and you can find out more information at HSE website. You will also find out the details of employer and employee responsibilities regarding vibration on the download area of this course.