Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Start date
Two days
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development
Doctors/Nurses: £695 per person (includes exam fee)
Technicians: £565 (no exam fee)

Workers whose hands are regularly exposed to high vibration may suffer from symptoms due to pathological effects on the peripheral vascular system, peripheral nervous system, muscles and other tissues of the hand and arm. Collectively the symptoms are known as ‘hand-arm vibration syndrome’ (HAVS). This is a painful disease, and is widespread where vibratory tools and machine are used.

This course includes lectures by practitioners with experience in assessing cases of possible HAVS, presentations and group discussion. There will also be a demonstration of instruments and tools relevant to both clinical and vibration exposure assessment in the workplace.

Learning Objectives
Topics covered during the course include:
• Laws, legislation and regulations
• Exposure in the workplace
• Effects, diagnosis and classification
• Management of exposed workers

Is this course accredited? 
This course is approved for 11 CPD credits by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, Royal College of Physicians.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Doctors/Nurses and Technicians?

Technicians are not able to sit the exam. To be eligible for the exam you must be a trained health professional and hold the appropriate UK registration. FOM advises that whilst non doctor or nurse candidates, such as occupational health therapists or technicians, are permitted to take the course, they will not be eligible to receive certification at the end. Find out more about the HAVS exam and regulations for exams.

I’m a technician, or a non-medical professional, should I still attend?

Yes, technicians are increasingly recruited to contribute to the HAVS health surveillance programme. All practitioners (technicians, nurses, doctors) benefit from understanding the need for health surveillance (HS) and how information from HS is used to assessing and managing risks. The 2 days course covers not only health surveillance (tiers 1-5) but also important non-clinical aspects of HAVS which would be of benefits to technicians e.g. legal aspects, risk assessment,  calculating daily vibration dose, interpretation of vibration exposure data use and methods for reducing risk to hand transmitted vibration. The overall aims of the regulations is to prevent HAVS and reduce risks of developing HAVS (as far as reasonably practicable) which is not confined to individuals with clinical expertise.    

It is advised that non-medical professionals should have a general understanding of occupational health. As technicians don’t sit the exam there is a reduced registration fee.

When are the exams held?

The exam is on day two of the course. The exams are held on site, during the course. FOM provide the exam papers.  Candidates who are doctors are required to pass section A on law and pathophysiology and section B on staging, management, testing and examination. Nurses are required to pass section A only. The papers are marked by FOM, who then send the results back to the University and we will inform delegates of a pass or fail. The examination certificates are sent out by FOM. This can take up to 6 weeks.

Do I get a certificate?

All delegates will receive a certificate of attendance, FOM normally approve the course for 11 CPD points. Upon successful completion of the examination FOM will issue examination certificates.

Does the certificate expire?

No, however if you would like to attend the course again as a refresher, you can pay the technician fee and not sit the exam on day two.

Can I re-sit the exam?

Candidates are eligible for up to six attempts to obtain a pass in the Certificate of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. Candidates who wish to re-sit the exam must have attended the course at the University of Birmingham. Candidates will be able to attend on day 2 only at an agreed fee.

When does the course run?

It is normally held twice a year, Spring and Autumn.

Useful website


Why Study this Course?

This short course is aimed at doctors and nurses interested in obtaining competency in the assessment and management of workers with hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).


Doctors/Nurses: £695 per person (includes exam fee)
Technicians: £565 (no exam fee)

How To Apply

Registration has closed for October 2019, you can register your interest for future courses.

Please see how the University of Birmingham uses your data, view the Mailing lists privacy notice.