A Metals fabrication company MTL Advanced Limited have been sentenced for health breaches after several workers were diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that the company was visited by the Health & Safety Executive in March 2018 following a concern received from an employee. During that visit it was found that there were multiple health and safety breaches, resulting in the company being issued with Improvement Notices.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there were systemic failings to recognise the risk of hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) or to take appropriate action to control exposure. Of particular concern were accounts from employees of pain and tingling in their fingers, hands and arms and that there were no limits on their use of vibrating tools such as angle grinders.
MTL Advanced Limited of Grange Lane, Rotherham, South Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £14,061 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Laura Hunter said: “Work activities involving vibrating tools should be properly assessed so that appropriate controls can be implemented to avoid exposing employees to harm.
“Employees suffering from HAVS can experience difficulty in carrying out tasks in the workplace involving fine or manipulative work and are less able to work in cold conditions. Sadly, these effects can be permanent and life changing.”
13 January 2022
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on Employers to prepare a Risk Assessment and record in writing the significant findings of the risk assessement, where the Company employs five or more people. A risk assessment will not only identify the Hazards that exist but it will also highlight the control measures that need to be put in place. These controls are likely to list the equipment that will be used and the need for using Competent Operatives to complete the task. A good risk assessment will include much more and it must be shared with the employees completing the work.
Employers must also ensure Risk Assessments are regularly reviewed. As well as the passage of time, changes in work processes, the introduction of new technolgy and changes in personnel are all good reasons to review existing Risk Assessments.
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