An engineering firm has been fined for failing to control the risk of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
Workers using vibrating tools developing the debilitating occupational disease as a result.
Manchester and Salford Magistrates heard how Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd (NFCL) failed to ensure the risks to its employees from exposure was adequately controlled. The company also failed to ensure its employees were given sufficient information, instruction and training on the effects of working with vibrating hand tools.
A HSE Investigation found that 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. 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. Despite his symptoms continuing, 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.
The firm pleaded guilty to criminal breaches of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £7,241 costs. The HSE inspector 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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