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General Policy
Estates, Facilities and Capital Services
Health & Safety Advisor
Health & Safety Manager
Director of Property & Asset Management
09 August 2019
01 May 2024
01 May 2027

General Note

NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.  New policies will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.

Reviewed policies will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.

If a policy is past its review date, then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy review is complete and the new version published, or if national policy or legislative changes are made.

1.     FUNCTION 

1.1.    This procedure and any associated guidance, protocols and documentation have been developed to allow NHS Fife to comply with the requirements of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.

1.2.    The aim is to set out how NHS Fife will prevent or reduce the risk of exposure to high vibration levels through the use of appropriate assessments, equipment management & maintenance and, where necessary, the provision of personal protective equipment.

1.3.    The vibration referred to here can be whole body or hand/arm vibration.

1.3.1.    Most people who drive road-going vehicles at work are not likely to experience high levels of whole-body vibration, but NHS Fife recognise the potential harm.

1.3.2.    This procedure outlines the steps to be taken by NHS Fife to ensure that the risk of suffering ill health from using handheld power tools, or hand guided machines is eliminated or minimized.

1.4.    This procedure outlines the steps to be taken by NHS Fife to ensure staff or others are not exposed to levels of vibration that may damage health.

1.5.    This procedure supports the Risk Assessment and Risk Register and Health Surveillance Policies and reference must be made to those policy documents to identify general responsibilities for risk assessment and health surveillance

2.     LOCATION 

2.1.    Location

2.1.1.    The procedure applies across all areas of NHS Fife and the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership. 

2.2.    Scope

2.2.1.    The procedure applies to all NHS Fife and Fife Health and Social Care Partnership staff including agency and contracted personnel, and any other person who is not an NHS Fife employee, but who is working under the supervision and direction of an NHS Fife employee.


3.1.    Senior Managers are responsible for;
•    ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that any equipment procured is suitable for use; 
•    ensuring that, where percussive or vibrating equipment is in use, a suitable and sufficient risk assessment has been completed; 
•    ensuring that staff and their representatives are involved when assessing the risks connected with vibration; 
•    providing suitable work equipment or other measures to prevent ill health where work with vibrating equipment cannot be avoided; 
•    ensuring all equipment is (captured within a written scheme of inspection and maintenance), properly inspected and maintained; 
•    ensuring that staff working with vibrating equipment are aware of this procedure, understand its content and comply with local procedures, guidance and safe systems of work; 
•    ensuring staff working with vibrating equipment are fit to do so; 
•    ensuring that staff working with vibrating equipment have appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision; 
•    ensuring all contractors are appropriately managed when on site; 
•    ensuring that statutory Health Records for employees are kept in compliance with The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005; 
•    agreeing Health Surveillance arrangements with employee representatives; and
•    Reporting vibration related conditions to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) when advised to do so by a doctor. 
3.2.    Line Managers and Supervisors are responsible for;
•    identifying equipment or processes where there is likely to be a risk from vibration; 
•    identifying employees who may be at risk from exposure to hand-arm vibration; 
•    informing Occupational Health, following appropriate risk assessments, of employees requiring health surveillance for HAVS (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome); 
•    Informing Occupational Health of any new staff or existing employees who are to begin exposure to HAV (Hand Arm Vibration) so that an appropriate medical assessment of their fitness to work with HAV can be carried out. This assessment should take place before exposure begins; 
•    Ensuring that health surveillance questionnaires are completed by employees at the recommended intervals and allocating a trained “responsible person” to screen these once agreed by unions/employee representatives. Referring to Occupational Health as appropriate; 
•    developing safe systems of work; 
•    acting upon any report of an activity or defect likely to cause ill health or endanger safety; 
•    managing contractors while they are on site; and
•    investigating all reports of ill health. 
3.3.    Employees are responsible for;
•    assisting with the risk assessment, including identification of equipment which has high vibration or any other problems during use, such as difficulty in holding, weight, or any awkward posture which needs to be adopted; 
•    complying with safe systems of work; 
•    using any safety equipment supplied; 
•    following training and instruction; 
•    informing their manager if they suspect that the system of work in place is ineffective or inadequate; 
•    reporting to their manager any activity, defect or incidents (including near misses) likely to cause ill health or endanger safety; 
•    reporting to their manager any ill health effects; and 
•    attending for health surveillance if the need is identified from risk assessment.


4.1.    Control of vibration risks will be achieved by giving careful consideration to the selection and use of new equipment and by ensuring that any use of equipment does not exceed the daily exposure limit value (ELV) of 5 m/s² A(8).

4.2.    If an individual’s daily exposure exceeds the exposure action value (EAV) of 2.5 m/s² A(8) steps will be taken to minimise exposure.

4.3.    Health Surveillance

4.3.1.    A tiered approach to health surveillance will be taken in line with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.

4.3.2.    The employee/recruit will complete a health questionnaire to be submitted to the occupational health nurse. The nurse will either advise that the individual is fit to work with HAV or they will arrange further assessment. 

4.3.3.    For those at continued risk an annual self-administered questionnaire will be completed. It is the responsibility of management to arrange this. If agreement is obtained with employee representative, then these can be screened for positive responses by a trained “responsible person” in the workplace. The “responsible person” will be trained by an occupational health nurse.

4.3.4.    A positive response to any of the questions in the questionnaire should trigger referral of occupational health for further assessment/examination/ investigation. Advice will be given to the employee and the employer as to whether or not the individual is medically fit to continue exposure to HAV. If all answers are negative then the questionnaire is repeated in one year. 

4.3.5.    After 3 years of negative annual questionnaires, management will refer the employee to the occupational health nurse for assessment to ensure that no relevant health issues have been overlooked.

4.3.6.    Health records will be kept by the employer for each employee as long as they are under health surveillance in compliance with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. 

4.3.7.    Health records may be retained for a longer period of time where appropriate.

4.3.8.    If an employee leaves NHS Fife they can requests a copy of their health record.


5.1.1.    This procedure is a part of NHS Fife’s system for managing risk as described in the NHS Fife Risk Assessment and Risk Register Policy.


6.1.1.    GP/R7 NHS Fife Risk Register and Risk Assessment Policy
6.1.2.    GP/I9 NHS Fife Adverse Events Policy
6.1.3.    GP/H5 Health Surveillance Policy


7.1.    Hand Arm Vibration: Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. Guidance on Regulations (second edition 2019). L140, HSE.
7.2.    Whole-Body Vibration. Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. Guidance on Regulations (first edition 2005) L141, HSE.
7.3.    Vibration Solutions First published 1997). HSG170, HSE.
7.4.    Hand-arm vibration at work: A brief guide (Revision 3, 2012). INDG175, HSE
7.5.    Hand Arm Vibration. Advice for employees (Revision 2, 2014). INDG 296, HSE
7.6.    Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (4th Edition, 2018). L22, HSE.
7.7.    Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, Guidance on regulations 4th Edition, 2022). L25, HSE.
7.8.    HSE Website (HAVS Resources)