• Vibration Control

    Whole-Body Vibration - A three-way responsibility

    3 wheel electric truckMaterials handling equipment operators are as a result of their employment exposed to vibration throughout their shift. In many countries the level of vibration that should not be exceeded is specified by international or local health and safety regulations.

    The definition of vibration when applied to fork lift trucks and reach trucks is the level of whole-body vibration (WBV) transmitted through the seat of equipment operated by employees who drive mobile machines over rough and uneven surfaces as a main part of their job.  The consequence is that large shocks and jolts or continuous high levels of vibration to employees may cause health risks including back-pain.

    Yale has invested heavily in ensuring that operators are only exposed to the absolute minimum levels of forklift vibration. This not only reduces the risk of any resultant health issues but helps them stay alert and remain productive throughout the duration of their shift.

  • The control of vibration at work regulations in the EU


    European legislation (The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations) stipulates that manufacturers of equipment, dealers who supply equipment and employers who use equipment all have an obligation to control the risks to employees from whole-body vibration.

    • Manufacturers of materials handling equipment must design and construct equipment that ensures that risks resulting from vibrations produced by the equipment are reduced to the lowest level. This includes forklift and reach trucks. 
    • Employers are required to control the risk to employees which can result from exposure to whole-body vibration in the workplace. Therefore employers must provide suitable equipment for employees to use. 

    The EU vibration tests


    European legislation EN13059 specifies the whole-body vibration test against which materials handling equipment has to be measured. It is a statutory requirement for manufacturers and suppliers of materials handling equipment - including importers - to test new equipment to this standard.

    If test values exceed 0.5m/s2, the test results must be published in their Operators' Manuals.

    Health and Safety guidelines state that whole-body vibration risks are:

    • Low for exposures of around 0.5m/s2 and only simple control measures are usually necessary in these circumstances. This value is sometimes expressed as EAV (Exposure Action Value) and is set at a daily exposure of 0.5m/s2 over the course of an average 8 hour working day [A(8)]. 
    • Higher levels of vibration can be expressed as the ELV or Exposure Limit Value and is set at a daily exposure of 1.15m/s2. This is considered to be the maximum amount of vibration employees should be exposed to in any single day. 

    The original regulations allowed a period for employers to phase out old equipment this period ended in July 2010. Today employers are required to assess the risk of exposure to high levels of vibration in the workplace to employees. If there is a probable risk they must take action to implement an immediate reduction.

    How employers can reduce the level of WBV to their operators?


    • Choose the right equipment for the application conditions 
    • Maintain the operator’s seat and consider fitting a high-quality replacement 
    • Set variable speed limits relative to ground conditions through the equipment’s  electronic systems management
    • Train employees on how to operate equipment safely and efficiently 
    • Ensure operators know how to adjust the seat to their specific stature 
    • Rotate operators to limit exposure in areas of higher WBV risk 
    • Improve ground conditions and maintain levels of good housekeeping 
    • Keep records of risk assessments and incidents 
    • Maintain a corrective action programme
    • Work closely with equipment supplier(s) 

    How does Yale help employers?


    • By designing and manufacturing equipment that has the lowest whole body vibration levels in the industry 
    • By training it’s distribution network to : 
      • Correctly survey the customer’s application to identify any potential on site areas of concern
      • Specify the right vehicle(s) for the application conditions 
      • Configure forklift features to suit application needs 
      • Offer flexible service inspection programmes 
      • Offer preventative and full service maintenance programmes for equipment
      • Train fork lift truck operators on how to correctly operate Yale equipment 
      • Provide third-party references 
      • Review risk assessments and recommend corrective actions 
      • Work closely with equipment owners and operators
      • Offer quality replacement parts to upgrade equipment or in the event of product damage