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GROUND ENGINEERS LACKED HAVS MANAGEMENT

Company failed to act after employee flagged hand-arm vibration risk

Ground engineering company Keller Limited has been fined after a workman was diagnosed with severe hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

Cheltenham Magistrates heard how the employee working at the company earth retaining division, known as Phi Group, was eventually diagnosed as suffering from HAVS after repeatedly flagging his symptoms to the company for over five years.

HAVS can include tingling, numbness and pain in the hands. The symptoms affect sleep when it occurs at night and sufferers have difficulties in gripping and holding things, particularly small items such as screws, doing up buttons, writing and driving.

HSE investigators found the company did not have the right system in place to manage the worker health and did not have a suitable health surveillance programme in place to monitor for the early onset of HAVS and to prevent the irreversible condition from developing.

Failed to “grasp importance” of health surveillance

Keller Limited of Oxford Road, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry, pled guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and were fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,263.45.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Mehtaab Hamid said:

“This was a case of the company completely failing to grasp the importance of HAVS health surveillance.

If they had understood why health surveillance was necessary, it would have ensured that it had the right systems in place to monitor worker’s health and the employee’s condition would not have been allowed to develop to a severe and life altering stage”.

 

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