§ Margaret Beckett
[holding answer 25 June 2001]The EU Employment and Social Policy Council is not seeking to impose a specific limit on tractor use. However, it has been discussing the proposed Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive which would, among other provisions, set a mandatory limit for exposure to whole body vibration. Limiting whole body vibration would affect tractor driving time but the impact will depend on the magnitude of the vibration in individual cases. The Council agreed on a maximum dose of 1.15 metres per second squared (a measure of acceleration) averaged over an 8-hour period for whole body vibration exposure. In the case of tractor use, the impact would vary, depending on factors such as seating and cab design. Under the transition arrangements proposed agriculture would not be required to comply with the whole body vibration limits until 2013.
The Directive has not been agreed and is due to be considered by the European Parliament in September.