Vibration at work laws introduced in the UK

New vibration at work regulations came into force in July designed to help reduce the estimated five million workers exposed to hand-arm vibration in the workplace.

The European Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive came into effect on 6 July, and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has published a series of guidance leaflets. These are designed to help employers decide whether workers are likely to exceed the new exposure action or limit values.

The HSE estimates that about two million workers are exposed to levels of vibration where there are clear risks of developing disease.

Each year, about 3,000 new claims for industrial injury disability benefit are made in relation to vibration white finger and vibration-related carpal tunnel syndrome, it added.

The leaflets also provide advice on practical actions employers can take to control risk.

There is a transitional period for the exposure limit values up to 2010, and up to 2014 in the case of whole-body exposures in the agriculture and forestry sectors, said the HSE.

A series of roadshows explaining the changes will be run across the country during September and October.

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