Engineering firm fined after worker suffers Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
An engineering firm has been fined for failing to control the risk of vibration exposure to employees using hand-guided power tools.
Accident at Work
Manchester and Salford Magistrates heard how Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd (NFCL) failed to adequately control the risk of vibration exposure to their employees. The firm neglected to ensure that its employees were given the essential information and training on the effects of working with vibrating hand tools.
Health and Safety Investigation
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation where they established that, at the end of 2015, a welder who worked for the company for a number of years had been given a task that incorporated a considerable amount of grinding and polishing.
The worker began to experience numbness and tingling after doing this task for a number of hours. He asked to swap with another worker but was told to carry on. Although his symptoms continued to progress, his supervisor instructed him to carry on using the vibrating tool.
After a number of weeks, a 20 year old apprentice welder also began to experience and display vibration-related symptoms from using similar tools.
Sentencing and fines
Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd, of Sandbach, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(1) and 8(1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Helen Jones said:
“This is a case of the company failing to protect workers using vibrating tools. Exposure to hand arm vibration is a well-known risk, which the company failed to adequately control.
The company also failed to ensure workers were looked after when symptoms did arise leading to further exposure. This was wholly inadequate, and led to two employees suffering significant health effects”.
The company has been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £7,241 costs.
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Source: Health and Safety Executive