UK Company Fined for Vibration Exposures

"No one's health should be made worse by the work they do. In this case, if Tai Calon had understood why health surveillance was necessary, it would have ensured that it had the right systems in place to monitor its workers' health," said HSE Inspector Paul Newton.

An English community housing association has been fined about $42,400 at sentencing for failing to effectively manage employees' exposure to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) over a prolonged period of time, the Health and Safety Executive reported March 29.

Newport Magistrates' Court heard how, between July 2010 and May 2015, employees of Tai Calon Community Housing Limited were routinely exposed to vibration at work; after the company introduced health surveillance in May 2015, a number of employees were diagnosed with HAVS, according to HSE, which launched an investigation that found Tai Calon failed to adequately assess the risk to employees from the use of vibratory tools, failed to implement adequate measures to reduce workers' vibration exposure, failed to place employees under suitable health surveillance, and failed to provide employees with suitable information, instruction, and training.

Tai Calon Community Housing of The Rising Sun Industrial Estate, Blaina, was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and was fined £30,000 -- about $42,400 in U.S. dollars -- and ordered to pay £2,789.25 in costs.

"No one's health should be made worse by the work they do. In this case, if Tai Calon had understood why health surveillance was necessary, it would have ensured that it had the right systems in place to monitor its workers' health," said HSE Inspector Paul Newton. "This prosecution highlights the health risks from using vibratory tools and the importance of employers having a health surveillance program in place. Where vibratory tools are used, employers should monitor the health of employees using them and ensure appropriate systems are in place to manage and control the risk from vibration."

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