Vibration monitoring: Is it necessary?

We take a look at the need to implement vibration monitoring and whether it is necessary when managing the risk of HAVS in the workplace as part of your compliance with the HSE regulations.

Let’s start with the HSE:

The ONLY way to substantially reduce the risk of somebody developing vibration related ill-health is to ELIMINATE or significantly REDUCE their EXPOSURE to vibration.

This is the mantra of the HSE, the regulatory body who inspect and enforce the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.

And it makes sense; wherever there is vibration exposure, the ideal solution to manage the risk of HAVS and other vibration-associated health issues is to either eliminate the exposure or reduce it to as low as reasonable practicable (ALARP).

But how often is elimination possible and/or practical? And whilst there are lots of ways to reduce exposure, it is rarely possible to reduce the risk entirely. In this case, how can you ensure you are protecting your staff from over-exposure if you aren’t continuously measuring and monitoring vibration exposure levels?

Risk Assessments

When the HSE conduct an inspection at a company, to ensure the regulations are being adhered to, the first place they will look is at your risk assessments. Any vibration exposure should be risk assessed by law and should establish what the risk to operatives is when being exposed to vibration.

Your risk assessment should identify:

  • Who is at risk from vibration exposure?
  • The likely vibration exposures they will face.
  • The Exposure Action Value (EAV) and Exposure Limit Value (ELV).
  • What needs to be done to reduce risk from vibration?
  • What tools and/or processes are the priorities for control?
  • Who needs to be under Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)-specific health surveillance?
  • Any training needs for specific users or on specific topics

Vibration Monitoring

The HSE will always look at the actions taken based on the risk assessments. They will be looking to see how your actions have achieved the following:

  1. A reduction in the vibration magnitude,
  2. A reduction in the trigger time, and
  3. A reduction in both the vibration magnitude and the trigger time.

A pro-active approach to managing vibration exposure before the work commences will always be preferable. Monitoring exposure whilst the work is happening, analysing the data at the end of the shift, and then vibration monitoringreacting to what was found won’t protect the user on that tool at that time, it will only inform future occurrences.

However, wouldn’t it be better if operatives and employers could continuously measure and monitor the exact vibration levels they are being exposed to as it happens?

This would mean actions can be taken in real-time, based on accurate data.

Continuously using vibration monitoring and measuring means you can see precisely what and where the risk is, as it happens – this is exactly what HAVSPRO gives you. It will help you to identify what actions should be taken such as;

  • are your tools worn or in need of a service,
  • do your tools contain the most efficient consumables, and
  • are there any training needs being highlighted?

It can even store the actions taken when vibration levels approach dangerous levels so you can demonstrate to the HSE inspectors how you are using the vibration monitoring system you have invested in to take actions that are reducing vibration over-exposure.

Action must be taken

The HSE inspect all organisations who use vibration monitoring systems. They often find companies who are failing to take actions, despite the vibration data they are gathering. If you find that your workers are regularly exposed to vibration above the exposure action value (EAV), then you MUST take action to reduce that exposure to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

Actions are critical when it comes to managing the risk of vibration exposure and this is where HAVSPRO is a game changer!

The HAVSPRO vibration monitoring and measuring system gives a visual alert to the operator, when they reach their pre-set EAV, so they can take action – which they can record and upload to the system for permanent record keeping. The system will also alert managers/supervisors of this breach so they can also track and enforce actions taken. The system allows employers to set the EAV and ELV limits for individuals so vulnerable workers can be protected by the system too.

The same warning system is triggered when operators reach 90% and 100% of their ELV. This gives operators and employers further opportunity to take action BEFORE the risk reaches excessive levels. So, with HAVSPRO, supervisors and managers will receive 3 emails and/or text alerts BEFORE each operative hits their ELV. Giving you the opportunity to be proactive in reducing vibration exposure before it becomes dangerous.

Data-driven decision-making that underpins a proactive action-lead approach to reducing vibration over-exposure, that will protect your staff and your business – that’s what HAVSPRO delivers.

Without continuous vibration monitoring, it isn’t possible to take timely and the most appropriate actions to manage the risk of vibration exposure or balance the needs of your business with the need to protect your workers.

Risk assessments and the hierarchy of controls should all be used as part of any organisations HAVS risk management strategy, but they need to be underpinned by continuous vibration monitoring and measuring to ensure data-driven decision making is taking place. Actions to reduce and eliminate the risk of vibration exposure can only be truly effective when they are based on data captured in real-time, as it is happening.

Discover the on-tool vibration monitoring and measuring system from HAVSPRO by downloading our brochure.

Download the HAVSPRO Brochure

Discover how HAVSPRO monitors vibration levels accurately and triggers alerts to protect your staff and organisation against the risks of HAVS and WBV (whole body vibration).

It monitors individual tool vibration levels and the exposure each person has to it.

HAVSPRO then collates all this data and creates customisable reports to help you prevent overexposure.

Find out everything you need to know in our brochure – simply complete the form!

Download our Brochure

Find out more about HAVSPRO and how it can help you protect your staff and business: 01332 547 148 or you can download our Employers Guide to HAVS