vibration monitors

What is HAVS and how you can prevent it?

Firstly, what is HAVS (hand arm vibration syndrome)? Well, it is a condition that is caused by prolonged exposure to vibration levels and can result in symptoms including; tingling fingers, numbness, loss of strength in hands, white finger, permanent numbness and a loss of grip.

Common causes of HAVS are use of a hand drill or other handheld tools that emit vibration levels for long periods of time, on several occasions, and in quick succession.

HAVS is most commonly seen in construction workers, horticultural workers and anyone who is exposed to extensive vibration levels on an ongoing basis.

Why is HAVS a problem for businesses?

So now we know what HAVS is, how can it be prevented?

All businesses have a duty of care for their staff and the prevention of injury is a significant part of that.

Any business that operates equipment that emits vibration levels, which can include gardening equipment such as mowers and blowers, needs to think “what is HAVS and how can we protect our staff from it?”

Protecting your staff from HAVS is more than a moral and ethical issue though – there is a legal requirement for businesses to manage the risk of HAVS and whole body vibration (WBV) levels for their staff.

what is HAVS

A legal requirement

The control of vibration at work regulations 2005 were introduced to protect workers from the risks to health from vibration levels and require more specific duties compared to general health and safety regulations.

The regulations state that:

An Exposure Action Value (EAV) of 2.5 m/s2 A(8) is the level at which employers should introduce technical and organisational measures to reduce exposure,


an Exposure Limit Value (ELV) of 5.0 m/s2 A(8) should not be exceeded.

The full text of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 can be viewed online.

Increasing productivity

All businesses need to make money to stay in business but not at the expense of staff safety. If you get the right vibration monitoring system, businesses can actually increase productivity, operational effectiveness AND protect their staff.

HAVSPRO gives users, supervisors, managers and Directors the accurate and immediate data they need to; manage the risk of HAVS, increase productivity and increase the effectiveness of the tools and resources being used. But how I hear you ask….

The HAVSPRO vibration monitoring system sits on the vibrating device which means it accurately monitors and reports on the exact vibration levels that tool is emitting – not a vibration range. The system then sends an alert to both the user and the manager/supervisor when the user reaches their Exposure Action Value (EAV) as set by the company. It will also send an alert to both the user and the manager/supervisor when the user reaches 90% of their stated Exposure Limit Value (ELV).

The reporting system collates all the data captured for each device that is being monitored and presents it in a dashboard which shows managers and Directors which tools are being used, how long they are used for and how often tools are rotated. This data helps businesses make informed decisions about asset usage and management leading to better productivity and longer asset lifespans.


In addition to the moral, ethical and legal reasons for businesses to know what HAVS is and to take proactive steps to protect their staff from it, there is a financial incentive too.

Fines in excess of £600,000 are common when employees develop HAVS as a result of mis-managed or inaccurate vibration levels, as seen when Places for People were fined in 2019.

This is in addition to the compensation claims brought against employers who neglect their staff when it comes to the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, so it is a costly mistake to not have the proper system in place.

what is HAVS

What is HAVS prevention?

As we have seen, there are many reasons to manage the risk of vibration levels accurately and effectively but how?

Here are our top tips for HAVS prevention:

  • Use an accurate vibration monitoring system such as HAVSPRO and not a system that only reports on a vibration range.
  • Measures EAV and ELV so you know exactly what your users are exposed to and when
  • Make sure your vibration monitoring system alerts all stakeholders of warns and breaches
  • Don’t ignore WBV (whole body vibration) – make sure you are measuring vibration levels for the entire body with your monitoring system.
  • Make sure HAVS and WBV is on the business’s agenda with summary reports auto-generated.

Remember – HAVS is dangerous and completely avoidable so make sure your business is accurately measuring vibration levels and managing the risk to employees.

If you would like more information about the HAVSPRO system, please contact us today on 01332 547 148 or request a call-back by emailing