November 20, 2018

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In Court

HAVS: Firm fined for putting workers’ health at risk

Calderys UK Ltd has been sentenced for failing to control exposure to both vibration and silica for its workers.

Leeds Crown Court was told the company reported two cases of employees suffering Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) in early 2017 and during the subsequent HSE investigation it was found that no measures had been put in place to control exposure to vibration when using pneumatic tools. It was also found there was no health surveillance put in place to identify any early signs of effects on worker health. These failings had been going on from as early as 2006, says the HSE.

The investigation also found that between April 2004 and December 2017, no measures were implemented to control workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica while stripping and replacing furnace linings, and no health surveillance was put in place, despite previous advice from HSE indicating what was needed.

Calderys UK Ltd of Gildersome Spur, Morley, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(1) and 7(1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. The company also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 7(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. The company was fined £60,000 with £4,864 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Julian Franklin commented: “Exposure to vibration can cause HAVS, a loss of nerve function, strength and dexterity in the fingers which is permanent and untreatable while exposure to silica can cause silicosis, leading to impaired lung function, lung cancer and death. It can also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

“Companies should know HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those failing to protect their workers.”

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Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree

Still no sign of employers being fined for “failing to mitigate” eye-strain, CVS, Screen Fatigue in DSE user operators, over-exposed to, a now Global Pandemic of, Asthenopia, simply due to sub-optimal screen ergonomics of, at least, 58% of employees on-screen for longer than an hours a day !!!