Frequently asked questions

HAV occurs from working with vibrating hand-held tools or equipment. It affects your hands and arms. 

Hand-arm vibration was originally known as 'vibration white finger'. It is only caused by handheld equipment rather than whole body vibration. 

Hand-arm vibration syndrome causes damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the arms and hands. This can result in individual fingers going white when the hand is exposed to cold and 'pins and needles' can occur. Damage to nerves is permanent whereas damage to blood vessels can reverse to a certain extent when taken away from cold exposure. 

Exposure action value (EAV) is the daily amount of vibration exposure. If vibration exposure is above 2.5 m/s² A(8), employers are required to take action to control exposure. The exposure limit value (ELV) is the maximum amount of vibration employees can be exposed to daily. The ELV for hand-arm vibration is a daily exposure of 5 m/s² A(8).

Carpal tunnel can take months to get better and can be caused by using vibrating tools. It is something that you can treat yourself and is the pressure on a nerve in your wrist which can cause tingling, pain or numbness in your hand/fingers. A wrist splint can be used to treat CTS and can release pressure on the nerve. 

Yes. If there is a possibility that someone may come to harm through vibration in the workplace then it should be written down as part of the risk assessment employers conduct. 

Documents & other resources


Vibration Exposure LOOK-UP Table

This is a simple LOOK-UP table. Find the vibration level of the tool or process on the left-hand column and read along to see how long you can use the piece of equipment.


Vibration Calculator

A great resource to help you calculate your exposure to vibration. Simply fill in the vibration level and the time spent on up to 6 different tools or operations (in the white areas).