A construction firm has recently been fined by the HSE for poor vibration monitoring. The company’s two partners, Andrew Hatto and Paul Kiff have each been fined £1150 each. In addition to this they have also been ordered to pay costs of £3500 each. The fines were issued at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on 20th September.
Employees of Roywood Contractors had been working for the company for many years. And, some employees had been working at various construction sites without adequate vibration control. One employee who had been working for the company for 12 years has suffered ‘significant ill-health’ relating to hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
HSE Vibration Monitoring
The HSE launched an investigation into the practices at the company and found that before January 2020, the company failed to adequately assess vibration risk. This led to employees being exposed to vibration limits that were not safe.
Because the company did not have the correct measures in place to control exposure, the workers were not being suitably screened for long term health problems. Suitable health surveillance should have been in place to monitor the workers health before it became chronic.
HSE Inspector Leah Sullivan said ‘This was a case of the company completely failing to grasp the importance of hand-arm vibration syndrome health surveillance’.
She also states that if the company understood why health surveillance was necessary, they would have been able to put the correct systems in place to safeguard the employees health. This should have been done before things got to a severe and ‘life altering’ stage. So, it could be that we need to educate the UK construction industry before more cases like this appear in court.
The importance of health surveillance
Employees regularly exposed to vibration need long term health surveillance. This is not only to safeguard employee ill health, but also to protect businesses from court cases and fines from the HSE. The HSE estimates that around 2 million people in the UK are at risk of developing hand-arm vibration syndrome. Yet in spite of these figures, some companies are still choosing to take the risk.
There are several symptoms of HAVS to look out for, such as:
- Tingling and numbness in the fingers
- Not being able to feel things properly
- Loss of strength in the hands
- Blanching (fingers going white)
- Red and painful joints
Businesses have a legal duty under the Control of Vibrations at Work act 2005, to ensure correct measures and controls are in place. This means regular risk assessments and monitoring, and on the hand regular health surveillance for employees needs to. be a priority.
We can help with vibration monitoring
At Safety First Group, we have hand-arm and whole body vibration monitoring to help construction businesses achieve compliance. Every technician is highly-qualified and experienced in assessing construction sites for risks and proposing the correct measures for eliminating or minimising these risks.
A vibration assessment helps businesses to:
- Identify where vibration risks might come from
- Advise who is likely to be at risk of exposure to vibration
- Test tools and equipment for vibration magnitude levels
- Recommend which steps need to taken for legal compliance
- Identify which employees need frequent health checks
- Identify where risks might come from
And, as vibration monitoring forms part of our core services, we have solid base of clients who trust us to help them:
- Identify & mitigate health risks
- Avoid the loss of skilled workers
- Prevent costly compensation claims