Regulation and legislation
EU directive 2002/44/EC on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (vibration) has been in force since July 2002. In order to support transposition of the directive at national level, a guide intended for the Member States has been produced (manuals in German on the subject of hand-arm vibration (PDF, 1.5 MB, nicht barrierefrei) and whole-body vibration (PDF, 2.6 MB, nicht barrierefrei) are available for download in PDF format).
The German Ordinance on noise and vibration (LärmVibrationsArbSchV) of 6 March 2007 transposes the EC directive governing the protection of workers against vibration, together with the directive governing their protection against noise, into German law. The TRLV technical rules on vibration of March 2015 pursuant to the LärmVibrationsArbSchV provide information on the latter's implementation.
At workplaces involving vibration exposure, risk assessments are mandatory. In this context, the A(8) daily vibration exposure value describes the daily vibration exposure over a standardized duration of eight hours. The A(8) value is formed from the duration of exposure (duration of contact with a vibrating surface) and a vibration parameter. For hand-arm vibration, the vibration parameter is the total vibration value; for whole-body vibration, the frequency-weighted accelerations in the three axes of measurement are relevant. It is important to note that these vibration parameters are strongly dependent upon the local workplace conditions. They can be determined from measurements or by estimates with the aid of further sources of information (such as manufacturers' data). Online parameter converters (hand-arm vibration, whole-body vibration (XLSX, 35 kB)) can then be used to calculate the A(8) value and to compare it with the action limits and the limit values defined in the LärmVibrationsArbSchV. The action value for hand-arm vibration is 2.5 m/s2, that for whole-body vibration 0.5 m/s2. The limit value for hand-arm vibration is 5 m/s2; for whole-body vibration it is 0.8 m/s2 for the vertical (z) axis and 1.15 m/s2 for the horizontal (x and y) axes of vibration.
If the action values of the A(8) are exceeded, technical and organizational preventive measures must be taken. If present, personal protective equipment must be made available and used. Occupational medical prophylaxis must be conducted. The daily vibration exposure must not exceed the limit values.
The body of state regulations is supplemented by information sheets published by the DGUV Woodworking and Metalworking Expert Committee (FB HM), guidance documents issued by OSH institutions, and standards and legislation:
Further prevention-related guidance documents: Project for the prevention of work-related complaints and diseases of the hand-arm system (inqa production).
An essential rule concerning whole-body vibration (VDI 2057 Part 1) was revised in 2017. The changes are summarized in an overview(in German).