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Company Fined in Vibration Case

Use of Vibrating Tools Damages Employee's Health


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a statement urging companies to assess the risks to their employees from exposure to vibration, after a Hampshire company was fined £10,500 for ignoring the safety of a worker.

 

Bill Leonard, an employee of Tews Engineering Limited, which is based in Petersfield, Hampshire, made a complaint to the HSE about his excessive use of vibrating tools while working at Tews Engineering, which had caused him to suffer hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

 

Mr Leonard had informed his employer of his symptoms and asked to be re-deployed for the sake of his health.  However, the company continued to require him to work predominantly with vibrating tools, exacerbating his health problems.

 

Mr Leonard now has permanent damage to his hand, making it impossible for him to continue his work.

 

Tews Engineering Limited pleaded guilty to contravening s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 in failing to protect the health of an employee, as well as breaching regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 in failing to carry out a proper risk assessment.

 

The company was fined £8500 for the first offence and £2000 for the second offence, and ordered to pay costs of £10,500 at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court, following the prosecution by the HSE.

 

Following the case, HSE Inspector Ray Kelly said, “The worker in this case has suffered unnecessary, permanent disability because of a failure to manage his health and safety at work. Employers should take heed that when HSE finds evidence of flagrant breaches of health and safety law, particularly where there is a history of previous warnings and advice, as was the case here, we will not hesitate to prosecute”.