The documentation supplied by the equipment manufacturer should warn you of risks from vibration. You can also check yourself to see if hand-held power tools, hand-guided and hand-fed machines are regularly used, and if so, whether anyone is, in particular using vibrating tools each day. If so, your employees are probably at risk. Even where employees are using vibrating tools or machines for less than these times, there may still be a risk and you should regularly (at least every six months) ask them if they are getting any symptoms of HAVS. Some simple questions you could ask are:
- Have your fingers gone white on exposure to cold?
- Have you had any tingling or numbness in your fingers after using vibrating equipment?
- Are you experiencing any problems with muscles or joints in your hands or arms?
- Do you have any difficulty picking up small objects such as screws or nails?
- If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, assume that there is a risk from HAV to your employees. You should refer the employee to a doctor and take action to reduce exposure.
- There is more detailed guidance on what you can do to assess the risk in HSE’s publication Hand-arm vibration