Article 4 of Directive 2002/44/EC states that the employer shall assess the risks arising from exposure to mechanical vibration to which workers are subject during the normal working activities. The risk assessment can be carried out with no need for measurements, if relevant information is available either in certified databases or directly from the manufacturer or the provider. If these data are not available, the levels of mechanical vibration to which workers are exposed shall be measured.
The assessment process, with or without measurements, shall be planned and carried out by competent personnel and at regular intervals. The assessment shall estimate the worker exposure levelsin order to compare them to the action levels and limit values set for in the regulations.
Action values and exposure limit values laid down in Directive 2002/44/EC art. 3
Whole-body transmitted vibration (WBV)
Daily exposure action value
A(8) = 0.5 m/s2
Daily exposure limit value
A(8) = 1 m/s2
When carrying out the risk assessment a particular attention shall be given to the following:
to identify the machines generating vibration and their respective time of use during the working processes, in order to assess the worker exposure levels and compare them to the action levels set for in the regulations
any effects concerning the health and safety of workers at particularly sensitive risk;
any indirect effects on worker safety resulting from interactions between mechanical vibration and the workplace or other work equipment;
information provided by the manufacturers of work equipment in accordance with the Machinery Directive;
the existence of replacement equipment designed to reduce the levels of exposure to mechanical vibration;
specific working conditions such as low temperatures, wet, high humidity, biomechanical surcharge of upper limbs and rachis.
Furthermore, the current legislation prescribes that the employer shall give particular attention, when carrying out the risk assessment, to the following: "the level, type and duration of exposure, including any exposure to intermittent vibration or repeated shocks". Therefore, in the presence of pulsed vibration, it is necessary to complete the assessment of the exposure by using the appropriate techniques, taking into account the impulsivity of the vibration. It must be reminded that standard ISO 2631-1 (2014) indicates that the A8 parameter can be applied for WBV with a crest factor lower than 9. The excess over this value indicates the presence of pulsed vibrations, to be assessed by using the vibration dose value (VDV). In addition, the 2010 amendment of ISO2631-1 specifies that alternative assessment methods to be adopted for intermittent vibration or repeated shocks with a crest factor lower than 9 are described in standard ISO 2631-5.