Employer and Employee Duties under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005

The regulations contain several specific duties that both employers and employees must undertake, so it is important to understand these duties. This brief guide is a summary of those duties. For more specific and detailed information on these, then HSE guidance can be found at https://www.hse.gov.uk/vIBRAtIon/hav/publications.htm.

Employer Duties

Every employer in the UK has duties under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations irrespective of the activities they undertake. For many companies, this means acknowledging that there are no vibration exposure activities on site, so long as it is reasonable to assume so.

General duties under the regulations irrespective of the vibration exposure:

  • Assess the risk of exposure to hand arm or whole-body vibration. This is a detailed process, which should be undertaken by a competent person.
  • Appoint a competent person to assess the risk and recommend actions. This person can be internal or can be a hired consultant but should be deemed ‘competent by the standard set out in the HSE guidance.
  • Review the risk assessment if there are significant changes in the working practices or processes. This might be a change of equipment, personnel or the process itself
  • Eliminate or reduce to as Low A Level As is Reasonably Practicable (LALARP). In other words, employers have a duty to reduce vibration levels irrespective of the exposure action and limit values.

Employees Exposed Above Exposure Action Value (EAV)

For Employees who are likely to be exposed to above the Exposure Action Value (EAV) of 2.5m/s2 for 8 hours as an A(8), there are specific duties that apply to the employer.

The A(8) is very important and is distinct from the measured vibration as it is a combination of the level of vibration and the time exposed, so must be calculated based on the time employees are exposed for.

  • Carry out health surveillance on those at risk. There is specific guidance on how to conduct health surveillance, which can be largely done in-house with the right training.
  • Provide information, instruction and training to those exposed to vibration, where there is a risk to health. These are usually in the form of toolbox talks and should be regularly updated.
  • Implementing a programme of organisational and technical measures, which includes engineering controls, lower vibration processes and tools limits to time of exposure.

For Employees exposed to above the Exposure Limit Value (ELV)

For Employees exposed to above the Exposure Limit Value (ELV) of 2.5m/s2 for 8 hours as an A(8), there are further duties required of employers, which are.

  • Immediately reduce exposure to below the ELV. This should be by any means necessary as it is absolute. Having said that, the regulations do go on to allow occasional exposures in certain conditions!
  • Identify the reason for that limit being exceeded
  • Prevent it being exceeded again using organisational and technical means as above.

Where the Exposure Limit Value (ELV) value is exceeded occasionally….

  • Use weekly average if that brings the exposure to below the limit value, although this should be used with caution and only if it is impossible to remove the exceedances completely
  • Assess if the risk from the actual pattern of exposure is less than the corresponding risk from constant exposure at the limit value
  • Ensure the risk is reduced to as low a level as reasonably practicable
  • Increase health surveillance and monitoring

Employee Duties

There are specific duties that employees must comply with under the regulations and failure to do so, can result in disciplinary action

  • You must follow instructions from your employer on safe working practices. This means you must comply with any directions given by your employer in the way tasks are carried out to ensure the vibration exposure is limited.
  • You should report anything that might affect the vibration exposure, such as faulty equipment, missing or damaged vibration controls or the wrong equipment being used.
  • Co-operate with your employer on any control measures that have been introduced. This will involve using the specified tools, any vibration control equipment and sticking to any time or points limits given to you.
  • Attend health surveillance appointments as directed by your employer. It can be a disciplinary offence not to turn up!

Summary Table of Duties

Below is a table showing all the above legal duties summarised into one table.

General DutyAssess the Risk
Appoint a Competent Person
Review Risk Assessment if Changes
Eliminate Risk to LALARP
Follow Instructions
Report Problems
EAVHealth Surveillance
Information, Instruction and Training
Organisational and Technical Controls
Attend Health Surveillance
Cooperate with Control Measures
ELVImmediately Reduce Exposure
Identify the Reason
Prevent re-occurrence
Cooperate with Employer
Occasional ELVConsider Weekly Average
Assess Actual Risk
Reduce Risks
Increase Health Surveillance
Attend Health Surveillance


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