July 14, 2017

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In-court

Company fined £120k for Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome risk

An engineering firm has been fined £120k for failing to control the risk to employees using hand held power tools from Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

Manchester and Salford Magistrates heard how Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd (NFCL) failed to ensure the risks to its employees from exposure.

The company also failed to ensure its employees were given sufficient information, instruction and training on the effects of working with vibrating hand tools.

The HSE found that sometime towards the end of 2015, a welder who had been working at the company for a number of years had been given a job that involved a significant amount of grinding and polishing.

Told to carry on

After a number of hours on the task, the worker began to experience numbness and tingling. He asked to swap with another worker but was told to carry on. Whilst his symptoms continued he was told by his supervisor to carry on using vibrating tools.

A few weeks later, a 20 year old apprentice welder also began to suffer from vibration-related symptoms from using similar tools.

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. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £7,241 costs.

Failure to protect

Speaking 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.”

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