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    VIBRATION RISK UNCONTROLLED FOR TEN YEARS

    Company workers used sanders and air-fed cutting equipment

    A train refurbishment company has today been sentenced after exposing workers to hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

    Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard how workers were exposed “to uncontrolled and unrestrained exposure to vibrating tools from 2005 to 2015″ at their Amington site in Tamworth. The employees used a number of vibrating tools including sanders and air-fed cutting equipment to refurbish train doors.

    A member of staff raised concerns with the company regarding symptoms similar to HAVS in 2015 but the firm failed to take prompt action to manage the risk. A second member of staff subsequently reported that he used grinders up to eight hours a day often “until his hands hurt”.

    Management oversight absent

    HSE investigators found the defendant failed to consider the risk to employees and agency workers over a prolonged period of time.

    A suitable and sufficient assessment of exposure was not undertaken, instruction and training on tool use was not provided and health surveillance was not in place.

    There was little or no oversight by management to control exposure to vibrating equipment and an absence of a safe system of work including control, monitoring and maintenance measures.

    • Faiveley Transport Tamworth Ltd – of Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, fined £90,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Theresa Hewkin said:

    “This was a case of the company completely failing to grasp the importance of HAVS health surveillance. If the company had understood why health surveillance was necessary, it would not only have ensured that it had the right systems in place to monitor workers’ health but would have identified from the outset that one of their employees has primary Raynaud’s phenomenon and should not have been made to work with vibrating tools because of his likely heightened susceptibility.”

     

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