In 2002, the Parliament and Commission of the European Community agreed “minimum health and safety requirements” for the exposure of workers to the risks arising from vibration. The Directive defines qualitative requirements and also quantitative requirements in the form of “exposure action values” and “exposure limit values”. The quantitative guidance is based on, but appears to conflict with, the guidance in International Standards for hand-transmitted vibration (ISO 5349) and whole-body vibration (ISO 2631). There is a large internal inconsistency within the Directive for short duration exposures to whole-body vibration: the two alternative methods give very different values. It would appear prudent to base actions on the qualitative guidance (i.e. reducing risk to a minimum) and only refer to the quantitative guidance where there is no other reasonable basis for the identification of risk (i.e. similar exposures are not a suspected cause of injury). Health surveillance and other precautions will be appropriate wherever there is reason to suspect a risk and will not be restricted to conditions where the exposure action value is exceeded.
- vibration injury
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