An Introduction to the Legislation

The European Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive 2002/44/EC took effect from July 2005 and has been implemented as law across all EU member states. The directive seeks to protect workers from the harmful effects of vibration by placing a duty of care on employers to minimize the risk.

How is vibration exposure measured?

Vibration exposure is measured in terms of acceleration. The unit of acceleration is m/s2. The measurement must be tri-axial and should be made according to standard EN60745 for electric power tools. All power tools have a measured vibration value and once known, this value can be converted into trigger-time to allow the worker to calculate how long the tool should be used for.

For example, the new DH40MRY low vibration rotary hammer has a measured tri-axial vibration of 8.3 m/s2. This tool can be continuously used for 2 hours and 54 minutes to reach the exposure limit value (ELV) of 5.0 m/s2(8) . Note this time is known as "trigger-time" and represents the total use time for the tool not including stoppages. You should add any stoppages to this time such as lunch breaks or non-tool work and preparation to calculate the maximum job time for using the tool.To see how to convert vibration to trigger-time, click here.

What is the maximum daily vibration limit?

There are two daily vibration limits that must be adhered to: the EAV (Exposure Action Value) and the ELV (Exposure Limit Value). The EAV is 2.5 m/s2 and once reached requires steps to be followed to minimize any follow on exposure. The ELV is 5 m/s2 and once reached the user must not work with vibrating tools for the rest of the day.