Yesterday the HSE successfully prosecuted a company where there had been a number of reported cases of health conditions caused by using vibrating tools. There was a huge fine:-_
A pipe manufacturing company based in Newport has been fined for safety failings after seven reported cases of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) between April 2014 and July 2015. Newport Crown Court heard that employees of Asset International Limited used vibrating tools without proper training or practical controls to reduce vibration risk. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found no sufficient risk assessment or health surveillance had been carried out. Asset International Limited, of Stevenson Street, Newport, was fined a total of £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,724 after pleading guilty to offences under Regulations 5,6,7, and 8 of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.
If your processes include anyone using hand tools that vibrate, you need to look carefully at whether you can provide different, low vibration, equipment but if not, you should ensure that employees know the time limits for using the tool and that a proper risk assessment and any other control measures are put in place.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or Carpel Tunnel Syndrome are similar to diseases brought on by inhalation of asbestos fibres – they can take several years to manifest and, once they have, they are almost irreversible. By not properly dealing with the use of tools that may cause such problems, you not only lay yourselves open to prosecution but also to compensation claims that can run in to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
If you have any doubts about how you deal with this subject, please let us know and we can assist you to ensure that you are not faced with such risks.