Information for Power Tool Users

Following the introduction of the European Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive 2002/44/EC, power tool users are now legally protected from the harmful effects of vibration at work that in the past may have increased the risk of contracting a musculoskeletal disease. In the case of power tools, excess vibration exposure has sometimes led to a disease known as VWF (Vibration White Finger). VWF is a progressive disease caused over time by a number of factors including excessive vibration exposure to the hands made worse by working in cold and wet conditions.

How does the new law protect me?

By restricting the amount of exposure to vibration at work, the new law seeks to minimise the likelihood of workers developing diseases like VWF in later life. This measure combined with training in proper power tool use, improvement in working conditions and use of high technology tools such as UVP range of low vibration power tools will significantly aid worker health.

How do I know when I am experiencing high vibration exposure?

To assess your risk, find the vibration measurement on the tool and convert the value to trigger time. To perform the conversion click here. This conversion will give 2 values. The first, know as the EAV (Exposure Action Value) acts as a warning signal for you to take measures that will keep your vibration exposure to a minimum for the rest of the day. The second value, known as the ELV (Exposure Limit Value) sets the maximum time that you should use a tool for in a single working day. Note the time is given 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.