What is the best way to reduce exposure to hand-arm vibration on a construction site?

Eliminating the process that is resulting in exposure to hand-arm vibration or substituting it for a process which results in less exposure are the best ways of dealing with hand-arm vibration exposure on a construction site. You will need to consider this during the risk assessment process. Selecting equipment that reduces exposure to vibration can help significantly. Organisational measures, such as job rotation, can also be useful.

Here are some examples of how you can reduce exposure to hand-arm vibration:

	Eliminate vibration exposure during design. For example, design ducts into a structure rather than chasing channels in walls. Avoid specifying scabbled finishes to concrete structures.

	Substitute a process which results in exposure to vibration for one that eliminates or reduces exposure. For example, blocks can be split with a hydraulic block splitter rather than a cut-off saw, equipment, such as breakers, can be machine mounted which removes the need for the operator to hold the equipment, pile caps can be cropped using hydraulic pile croppers or an alternative method, such as the Elliot or Recipieux methods.

	Select low vibration equipment. For example, compare vibration levels from power tools when buying or hiring equipment. Use information from the manufacturer or supplier, and choose a tool that is effective for the job and results in low exposure to vibration.

	Ensure equipment is used by suitably trained staff and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

	If hand-held vibrating tools are used, job rotation can reduce the exposure of individuals. Protect workers from cold and damp by providing suitable clothing and gloves as this can reduce the likelihood of hand-arm vibration symptoms appearing, but note that gloves are not an effective protection against vibration.