October 5, 2017

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In court

Council fined £150k for HAVS negligence

Wrexham County Borough Council has been fined after a 57-year old man was diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

Wrexham Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee of the council’s streetscene department had been diagnosed with HAVS in September 2015.

The Health and Safety Executive found that the council had failed to address the issue of HAVS following an audit in February 2011, which identified a failure to assess the risk to employees from vibration. The council had developed a number of policies dating back to 2004 to tackle the risk of HAVS, however it was found these policies were not implemented.

Following the introduction of HAVS occupational health surveillance for users of vibrating tools a further eleven diagnoses of HAVS or Carpal tunnel syndrome have been reported.

Life changing illness

Wrexham County Borough Council of the Guildhall, Wrexham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The council has been fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,901.35

HSE inspector Mhairi Duffy commented: “This employee now suffers from a long term, life changing illness. The council should have implemented the policy they devised following the audit in 2011.

“Workers’ health should not be made worse by the work they do; all employees have the right to go home healthy at the end of the working day.”

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