briefing meeting, jointly organised by the HSE and
the FMCEC, was held earlier this year to provide industry
with details and the likely impact of the proposed
Commission Directive which addresses the issue of
risks due to vibration in workplaces.
proposed hand-arm and wholebody vibration values (action
and limit values are being proposed) remain the most
contentious parts of the proposal. These values could
lead to workplace situations where employees could
exceed the required vibration dose values and employers
would have to prevent, or at least place time-limits
on, the use of some equipment. Equipment manufacturers
have serious concerns that some equipment could consequently
be restricted or disappear from the marketplace.
industry view was presented by the FMCEC which described
an example of a concrete breaker operator who would
exceed the limit value for hand-arm vibration in one
hour and a loader operator who would exceed the whole-body
limit value well before the end of a normal working
described were the exorbitant costs of vibration tests
and the inadequacy of current test codes which did
not cover the multitude of variables that occur when
equipment is operated.
HSE supported the principle of the proposal but had
reservations about the requirements for wholebody
vibration and for imposing limit values. The hand-arm
proposals were broadly consistent with HSE guidance
in the UK (although the proposed values were lower
than HSE guidance or recommended values) but the whole-body
proposals were not consistent with the UK and were
based on incomplete scientific knowledge.
HSE explained that the meeting in January 2000, called
by the Portuguese Presidency, had not been followed
up and the future of the proposal was not clear. It
was unlikely that any UK regulations would appear
before 2003 at the earliest, with a transition/derogation
period of not less than five years.
FMCEC position paper on the proposal is available