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Occupational Health


Hand–arm vibration (HAV) is transmitted from a work activity into the workers hands and arms when:

  • operating hand-held power tools, e.g., road breakers
  • using hand-guided equipment, e.g., hand-guided equipment such as lawn mowers, strimmers and brush cutters
  • holding materials being processed by a machine such as pedestal grinders and disc cutters

Hand–arm vibration can cause a range of conditions known as hand–arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). It can affect the vascular, nervous and musculo-skeletal systems of the upper limbs. The best known condition is vibration white finger (VWF), but vibration can also be linked to specific conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The symptoms may include any combination of:

  • tingling and numbness in the fingers
  • not being able to feel things properly
  • loss of strength in the hands
  • fingers going white (blanching) but become red and painful on recovery - particularly in the cold and wet.

Health surveillance

In accordance with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and University Policy - University Hand Arm Vibration Policy health surveillance may be necessary.

Depending on the level of exposure and risk assessment outcome, enrolment on the OH health surveillance programme may be necessary on commencement of employment.  Periodic health monitoring will continue during work exposure and any possible symptoms will be fully investigated by OH.

If symptoms occur between periodic health surveillance these must be reported to both your supervisor and OH.  Further information is available here