The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted
An assessment of the company's tools took place in 2006 which identified some, including drills, grinders and hammers, posed a high risk from exposure to vibration. However, they were not taken out of service and no controls were put on their use until 2010.
In addition, some employees used their own tools, which were also not assessed and therefore no controls put in place. HSE found that although
The symptoms of HAVS syndrome include blanching and numbness in the fingers, especially in the cold, as well as pins and needles, which can be extremely painful. This is due to damage to the small blood vessels and nerves supplying the hands. Sufferers can have difficulty picking up small objects and performing tasks such as doing up buttons. As sufferers cannot be exposed to cold without pain it can restrict some work and hobbies such as fishing, cycling or gardening.
Sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome also experience pain and pins and needles, especially at night, and a reduction in grip. An operation is normally needed to release the nerve, although this is less successful if they have been exposed to vibration.
The court was told some of the employees at
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector
"The company was slow to implement improvements even after HSE's involvement and had to be issued with an Improvement Notice in 2011 to ensure compliance.
"Adequate assessment of the risk from vibration, provision of tools with lower vibration levels, and a good system of work would have ensured workers were not over-exposed to vibration. A better health surveillance system would also have identified problems earlier, and symptoms could have been managed to prevent them getting worse."
Almost two million people in the
Notes to editors
1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is
2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."
Regional reporters should call the appropriate Regional News Network press office. http://press.hse.gov.uk/regional-contacts/
TNS 18EstebanLiz-140722-30FurigayJane-4803400 30FurigayJane
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