A Three-Way Responsibility
Lift truck drivers are exposed to vibration in their daily work, however these vibrations should not exceed certain levels. In some regions, forklift vibrations are covered under local regulations.
Definition: Whole-body vibration (WBV) is transmitted through the seat of employees who drive mobile machines over rough and uneven surfaces as a main part of their job. Large shocks and jolts may cause health risks including back-pain.
Hyster has invested heavily in intelligent designs to ensure that drivers are only exposed to minimum levels of forklift vibration helping them to stay alert and productive for the duration of a shift. The Hyster Vista Cab featured across the Big Truck range is considered to be one of the most comfortable for drivers in the industry.
EU - The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations
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 complementary obligations to control the risks to employees from whole-body vibration.
- Machinery must be designed and constructed to ensure that risks resulting from vibrations produced by the machine are reduced to the lowest level. This includes forklift 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 use suitable equipment.
European legislation EN13059 defines a 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.
Original regulations for employers allowed a period of transition up to July 2010 for phasing out older equipment. Thereafter employers are required to assess the risk to employees in the workplace. If employees are likely to be exposed to higher vibration levels, they must take immediate action to reduce employee exposure.
- Choose the right vehicle for the application conditions
- Maintain seat and consider fitting a high-quality replacement
- Set variable speed limits relative to ground conditions
- Train employees on how to operate equipment effectively
- Ensure operators know how to adjust the seat correctly
- Rotate drivers to limit exposure in high risk areas
- Improve ground conditions and maintain housekeeping
- Keep records of risk assessment and incidents
- Maintain corrective action programme
- Work closely with truck supplier(s)
Hyster and its distribution network has:
- Reduced whole body vibration on all equipment to low levels
- On Hyster's Big Truck range, the Vista Cab and the seat offers one of the most comfortable operating environments in the industry with low levels of vibration
- Trained the distribution network to :
- Survey the application to identify potential issues on site
- Specify the right vehicle(s) for the application conditions
- Offer quality replacement parts in the event of damage
- Offer quality replacement parts to upgrade equipment
- Configure forklift features to suit application conditions
- Offer service inspection programmes for forklift trucks
- Offer repair and maintenance programmes for forklifts
- Train forklift drivers on how to operate equipment
- Provide third-party reference experience to end-users
- Review risk assessments and corrective actions
- Work closely with truck owners & operators