EU guide to protection against vibration

Project No. BGIA 4134


completed 06/2006


Directive 2002/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (vibration) serves to introduce minimum regulations at EU level for the protection of workers against vibration hazards at the workplace. The directive sets out exposure limit values and exposure action values. In addition, it explains the employer's duties regarding detection and assessment of the risks. In order to facilitate implementation of the EU directive, the European Union commissioned the creation of a guide. The guide is not legally binding and is intended for the Member States. The guide is to serve as a platform for sector-specific codes of practice. These are to be created in the next stage and are to provide support to the individual enterprises in the implementation of the directive. Particular importance is attached to supporting the new Member States in the reduction of vibration hazards.


Under the overall control of the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), University of Southampton, the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), the BG Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BGIA), the Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) developed two guide parts for whole-body and hand-arm vibration. In this project, the task of the individual partners was to provide critical supervision during creation of the guide sections and to supplement their content, in consideration of particular national issues and existing experience on hazard assessment. In addition, contacts with further Member States of the European Union were to be exploited in order for comments to be obtained and incorporated. National committees of experts were involved in the project for this purpose.


The two guide parts first address the subject of hazard assessment. Information is provided on estimating and measuring the vibration exposure. The principles are described by which the daily exposure may be calculated. A simple method is also described for hazard assessment based upon exposure points, following which the exposure can be ascertained simply by addition. Considerable attention is paid to the technical and organizational measures which may have to be considered. The (important) maintenance of the machines and the environment in which they are used (e.g. roadways), intelligent design of handles on machines which generate hand-arm vibration, and the choice of seats on mobile machines which generate whole-body vibration, are also addressed. Annexes are included which provide an overview of the duties imposed by the directive. The typical influencing variables are described which characterize the vibration exposure and its possible effects upon health. For cases in which several machines are used each day, calculation of the daily exposure is explained in detail with the aid of examples. The guide serves as a basis for national, sector-specific codes of practice.

Last Update:

16 Sep 2015


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR)
  • University of Southampton, U.K
  • Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS)
  • HSL
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

work-related health hazards, noise/vibrations


working environment (load, hazards, exposure, risks), exposure, vibration

Description, key words:

implementation of EU directive 2002/44/EC, guide, Member States, minimum requirements, whole-body vibration, hand-arm vibration, prevention, hazard analysis