A manufacturer of medical devices for the Healthcare industry has been fined for poor hand-arm vibration monitoring. The report found that the company had failed to adequately control the risks of exposure to vibration.
It was found in court that employees of the company were using power tools such as hedge grinders, drills and trimmers without adequate controls and measures. Over time, exposure to these high levels of vibration led to the employees, some of whom had been employed at the company since 1991, suffering from ill health, and particularly, hand-arm vibration syndrome.
What is Hand-Arm Vibration syndrome?
Hand-arm vibration syndrome is a serious health complication caused by long term and prolonged exposure to vibration.
Hand-arm vibration syndrome can manifest in employees suffering from loss of sensation in their hands and fingers, and can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. When left untreated, all of these symptoms can cause long term damage. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of hand-arm vibration syndrome, so familiarising yourself with the following signs could be critical in getting your employees the right help and support.
The importance of vibration monitoring
An investigation conducted by the HSE, found that prior to 2019 the company had failed to adequately assess and control exposure to vibration, including failure to risk assess and identify which employees are at risk.
The company was fined almost £250,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling almost £16,000.
Not adequately assessing for vibration risk is subject to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, failure to comply can mean heavy fines as this company has recently discovered.
What to look out for
- Employees exposed to vibration may complain of numbness in their hands and fingers
- Loss of sensation in their hands and fingers that causes them to ‘shake’ their hands back to life
- Numbness and tingling, especially any numbness that causes someone to drop anything in their hands
To learn more about when vibration could be an issue for your employees, you can read our blog post here
The Safety First Way
We’ve been working with customers for over a decade, supporting them with vibration risk assessment and monitoring. Our experienced technicians are on hand for a friendly chat about how we work with customers to understand their overall business needs. If you are in a position to talk to us about your vibration monitoring requirements for 2022, or even before, we’d love to talk to you to find out how we can help.