What is HAVS?

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is the main concern posed by exposure to vibration. Commonly manifesting as vibration white finger or carpal tunnel syndrome, HAVS is caused by the transfer of vibration through a workers hands and arms, in as little as 6 months. Nerve damage and restricted blood flow to the hand and fingers can occur, this causes the debilitating symptoms and effects known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome.

What Are The Effects of HAVS/Hand-Arm Vibration?

Some of the common symptoms of HAVS, as described by the HSE, are listed below. Many sufferers experience a wide range of debilitating effects due to the 

condition that impact in both their day to day lives and in their ability to work.

HAVS Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (White finger)


  • Pain, tingling and total loss of feeling

  • Loss of fine motor skills

  • Reduced strength and grip ability

  • Muscle wasting

  • Reynaud’s disease (White fingers that become painfully red)

The loss of feeling, pain and a lack of fine motor skills often results in sufferers struggling to work, especially in the industry that caused their condition. In their day to day lives, simple tasks such as doing up buttons and picking things up become challenging especially as the condition often deteriorates once developed. These symptoms make it clear that HAVS is a serious disease, which operators should be protected from.

What Work Causes HAVS?

Any work that includes consistent or frequent exposure to vibration through the hands or arms can lead to debilitating and permanent health problems. Most commonly this is caused by the use of a tool that vibrates during use, but it is important to recognise how broad this category is and the large number of operators that may be at risk.


Jobs and Industries with high frequencies of HAVS suffers:

If your sector is not listed, this does not mean you do not need to monitor hand arm vibration. Any employee exposed to vibration during their work should be monitored as is required by law.

  • Road and rail workers

  • Construction Industry

  • Estate management

  • Forestry

  • Foundries

  • Heavy Engineering

  • Utilities Workers

  • Shipping

  • Medicine

  • Laboratory Work


Examples of tools and equipment that pose a risk:

It is often overlooked that workers do not need to be in contact with the tool or equipment to be receiving dangerous levels of vibration. Workers that hold materials or workpieces as they are passed through machines or being tooled are also at high risk.

  • Chainsaws

  • Rubble Breakers

  • Hammer-Drills

  • Lawn Mowers

  • Saws

  • Grinders

  • Impact Wrenches

  • Polishers

  • Drills

  • Dremels

  • Sanders

  • Scabblers

  • Strimmers/Trimmers

  • Power Chisels