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  1. Keith Palmer, Editor

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    DIVISIONS WITHIN EUROPE

    What to do when a European Directive and a set of ISO standards conflict with one another? This is the dilemma highlighted by Griffin’s critical review (p. 387). The Directive in question concerns “minimum health and safety requirements for the exposure of workers to the risks arising from vibration”, and provides both quantitative and qualitative guidance. The former, which is used to set exposure action and exposure limit values, appears to be based on existing International Standards for hand-transmitted (ISO 5349) and whole-body vibration (ISO 2631). But for short durations of exposure the two methods generate very different results. Griffin reports that for 10 minute exposures to whole-body vibration the r.m.s. exposure limit value is almost three times greater than its vibration dose value equivalent. He suggests that the exposure action and limit values in the Directive do not define safe exposures to vibration; and he recommends that it would be prudent normally, in planning preventive actions, to favour the qualitative guidance, which aims to minimise the risk where reasonably practicable.

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