Hand/Arm Vibration Assessment (HAVS)

Hand/Arm Vibration Assessment (HAVS)

What is hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS?)

(Also known as Vibration White Finger ( V.W.F )

  • Hand arm vibration is vibration transmitted into your hands and arms when you use handheld powered work equipment. Too much exposure to hand arm vibration can cause HAVS, V.W.F and Carpal Tunnel Carpal Syndrome ( a nerve disorder which may involve pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in parts)
  • HAVS is a recognised industrial disease affecting the nerves , blood vessels, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm, caused by excessive exposure to hand arm vibration tools.

Who is at risk?

You are at risk if you regularly use handheld or hand guided power tools and machines such as:

  • Concrete breakers, concrete pokers;
  • Sanders, grinders, disc cutters;
  • Hammer drills;
  • chipping hammers;
  • Chainsaws, brush cutters, hedge trimmers, powered mowers; Scrabbles or needle guns.
  • Pieces of equipment which vibrate while being processed by powered machinery such as pedestal grinders


  • The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 was introduced to try to protect employees from risk to health from vibration caused by the over use of hand tools. A risk assessment should be completed to identify any risks and measures put in place to reduce or minimise any risks.
  • Health surveillance should be completed for all new & existing employees exposed to any equipment known to be a contributor to hand arm vibration syndrome. A baseline questionnaire should be completed initially and if identified as necessary, an appointment will be arranged to be seen by either an Occupational Health Nurse or Occupational Health Physician. A Statement of Fitness/ Unfit will be provided to the employer.

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Useful links

For more information on hand -arm vibration, see HSE’s free leaflet Control the risks from hand-arm vibration INDG175(rev2) and visit HSE’s vibration website at www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/

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