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Hand-Arm vibration – Shropshire company fined £500,000

A Shropshire based company was recently fined £500,000 as a number of its workers were found to have hand-arm vibration syndrome.

A recent investigation by the HSE found that one of the employees had been working at the company since 1989. However, despite previous diagnosis of hand-arm vibration syndrome in 2016, the company had failed to take action to prevent further harm.

The affected employees were using tools like hand grinders, air chisels, spindle grinders, and previously had been using jackhammers. All of these tools, and more are known to cause excessive vibration and so should have been routinely risk assessed for vibration levels.

As part of the investigation, the HSE also found that the risk assessment failed to identify individual risk. Measuring the exposure limits of each piece of equipment forms part of the Health & Safety at work act, 1974. As a result of this, regular health surveillance wasn’t performed and several more employees went on to develop symptoms of Hand-Arm vibrations syndrome.

Regular and consistent vibration monitoring is necessary to avoid long term employee heath problems, and to avoid the hefty fines for non compliance.

HSE Inspector Andrew Johnson said: “This was an established multinational company that had the resources to protect its workers from the effects of excessive vibration but failed to do so over a long period of time. All employers have a duty to provide effective measures to ensure the health of their staff is not seriously or permanently harmed by the work they are asked to do.”

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