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VIBRATION UNCONTROLLED & WORKERS UNINFORMED

Engineering firm fined £120,000 over hand-arm vibration risk

Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd has been fined for exposing employees using hand held vibrating power tools to the risk of developing hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

Manchester and Salford Magistrates heard how the company 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.

HSE investigators found that sometime near the end of 2015 a welder who had been working at the company for a number of years was allocated to a task which involved a significant amount of grinding and polishing.

After a number of hours undertaking this task the workman began to experience numbness and tingling in his hands. The workman asked to swap with another worker but was instructed to carry on the work. His symptoms continued but he was told by his supervisor to carry on using the vibrating tools.

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

Hand arm vibration is well-known risk

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 has been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £7,241 costs.

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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