The EU Vibration Directive Implications – Explained


The EU directive makes the employer or operating authority responsible for minimizing employees’ and passengers’ exposure to dangerous impacts on high-speed vessels, by providing the best available technical solutions, such as seats.




From a legal point of view only the best available solutions are acceptable.




Ullman Jockey seats are scientifically proven to be the most efficient means of reducing impact exposure on board high-speed boats.




Fitting a so-called suspension seat or shock mitigation seat will not make you compliant with the EU-directive.  Some “shock mitigation seats” on the market have the tendency to bottom-out and significantly amplify major impacts. 




Below you can see the vital parts of the EU Vibration Directive, and its implications for boat operators, explained:




EU Vibration Directive – Summary for Boat Operations




Article 3:2 – Exposure limit values and action values




For whole-body vibration:(a) the daily exposure limit value standardised to an eight-hour reference period shall be 1,15 m/s2 or, at the choice of the Member State concerned, a vibration dose value of 21 m/ s1,75;(b) the daily exposure action value standardised to an eight-hour reference period shall be 0,5 m/s2 or, at the choice of the Member State concerned, a vibration dose value of 9,1 m/s1,75.




Explanation: The allowed daily dose of vibration is consumed within 5-15 minutes in a 30 knot boat run in 2-4 foot waves. Using suspension seating you can increase the allowed operation time to about 30 minutes, which is still not sufficient for most operations. This means that no professional high-speed boat operations can practically be compliant with the EU directive.








Article 10:1 – Derogations




1. In compliance with the general principles of health and safety protection for workers, Member States may, in the case of sea and air transport, derogate from Article 5(3) in duly justified circumstances with respect to whole-body vibration where, given the state of the art and the specific characteristics of workplaces, it is not possible to comply with the exposure limit value despite the technical and/or organisation measures taken.




Explanation: If you cannot comply with the vibration exposure limits – which no boat operations can, you can derogate from the whole body vibration directive, provided that you have done everything in your power to provide the best technical solutions available.




Article 5:2 – Provisions aimed at avoiding or reducing exposure




On the basis of the risk assessment referred to in Article 4, once the exposure action values laid down in Article 3(1)(b) and (2)(b) are exceeded, the employer shall establish and implement a programme of technical and/or organisational measures intended to reduce to a minimum exposure to mechanical vibration and the attendant risks, taking into account in particular:(…)(c)  the provision of auxiliary equipment that reduces the risk of injuries caused by vibration, such as seats that effectively reduce whole-body vibration and handles which reduce the vibration transmitted to the hand-arm system;




Download the full EU Vibration Directive here: eu_directive_2002_44CE_EN










No High-Speed boat operations can be guaranteed or even claimed to be compliant with the EU directive.




The EU directive puts the responsibility on the employer or operating authority to reduce crew exposure to a minimum by providing the best available means to minimize the exposure.




The technical solutions you provide need to be validated and proven state-of-the art and the most effective in reducing impact. Above all else, they must be proven to be safe and not bottom-out.


Fitting a so-called “suspension seat” or “shock mitigation seat” to your boat will not make you compliant with the EU Vibration Directive.




Ullman Jockey Seats are the only suspension seats on the market that are scientifically validated by independent bodies – (http://www.str.eu.com/) and shown to effectively protect the crews and to reduce the impact and vibration exposure to medically acceptable levels. Ullman seats are the most effective solution available.




Ullman Jockey seats are thus the only seats on the market that will allow employers to meet the criteria in the EU-directive.



Here you can see some of the organizations that have been using Ullman Seats for many years.