Engineering Firm Fined $155,000 in Vibration Case

"Exposure to hand/arm vibration is a well-known risk which the company failed to adequately control," said HSE Inspector Helen Jones. "The company also failed to ensure workers were looked after when symptoms did arise, leading to further exposure."

An engineering firm in England has been fined about $155,000 for exposing its employees to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), the Health and Safety Executive announced after prosecuting an enforcement case against the company. The employees were using handheld power tools.

Manchester and Salford Magistrates heard how Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd failed to ensure the risks to its employees were adequately controlled and also failed to educate and train the employees on the effects of working with vibrating hand tools. The investigation by the HSE found that during 2015, a welder who had been working at the company for a number of years had been given a job that involved a significant amount of grinding and polishing. He began to experience numbness and tingling and asked to switch with another worker but was told to continue and to continue using vibrating tools.

A few weeks later, a 20-year-old apprentice welder also began to suffer from vibration-related symptoms from using similar tools.

Newfield Fabrications Co Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(1) and 8(1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. The company has been fined £120,000 (about $155,000 in U.S. dollars) and ordered to pay £7,241 costs.

"This is a case of the company failing to protect workers using vibrating tools. Exposure to hand/arm vibration is a well-known risk which the company failed to adequately control," said HSE Inspector Helen Jones. "The company also failed to ensure workers were looked after when symptoms did arise, leading to further exposure. This was wholly inadequate and led to two employees suffering significant health effects."

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  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

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