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Topic: Machinery and equipment

Employee vibration log
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Employee vibration log

Employee vibration log

Using hand-held powered equipment transfers vibration to the hands, wrists and arms, and can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome. To control the risk keep a record of exposure.

Completing it

The form is designed to be completed on a periodic basis, the frequency of which you can choose. The form begins with basic details including the work location and the name of the employee.

Every time the employee uses a vibrating tool they must fill out each section. The information does not need to be detailed but should be sufficient that you can understand afterwards which tool and attachment were used and what was done. The length of time which a vibrating tool is used is known as the “estimated trigger time”.

Warning. This is not how long a job takes but how long the operator is actually exposed to vibration, e.g. if using an electric drill the trigger time will be how long the user is holding the tool with the trigger depressed. Operators tend to overestimate trigger time when asked so you will probably need to spend time observing staff working to have a better idea of the actual time to be written down. There are also devices that can be attached to tools that will measure trigger time for you.

Note. If you’re using trigger time estimates, agree with your staff what trigger time they are to write down as a proportion of their total time for different jobs. Alternatively, change the column heading to “Time taken” and have them simply write the total time. If you do this, add an extra column For office use only” where you write the estimated trigger time afterwards.

What are exposure points?

“Exposure points” is a concept created by the HSE to make it easier to understand and manage the risk. By using this system staff can see whether they are approaching the limit for vibration exposure. 100 exposure points is the level at which steps must be taken to reduce the employee’s exposure and 400 points is the maximum amount of vibration a worker should be exposed to on any single day.

To work out how many exposure points to write down you’ll need to know how many points that particular tool delivers in an hour, e.g. if a tool emits 20 exposure points in an hour, over three hours that’s 60 points and over half an hour it’s ten points. Use the HSE’s “Hand-arm vibration exposure calculator” at http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/calcinst.htm. It may be more appropriate to reserve this part of the form for the manager to complete.

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