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Company Held Accountable for Employees' Permanent Nerve Damage

Posted by on in Accident At Work
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A firm has been fined for failing to protect its workers from exposure to high levels of hand arm vibration (HAV) resulting in permanent vibration-related conditions and health issues.

Babcock Flagship Ltd hadn't properly assessed the vibration risks faced by staff carrying out ground maintenance at a naval base in Cornwall and failed to implement controls to limit exposure to machinery such as hedge cutters and strimmers. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that employees could regularly work eight hours a day using the same tools, which aggravated their vibration-related conditions.

Earlier this week, a Magistrates Court in England & Wales fined the company £10,000 and ordered it to pay £10,000 in costs after admitting to breaches of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. The Court heard that three workers had been diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), causing permanent damage that has had a significant impact on their quality of life and ability to work.

HSE Inspector Emma O’Hara said:

“Almost half of all the ill-health reports sent to HSE relate to Hand Arm Vibration and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome associated with working with vibrating tools, many from the horticulture industry.

“Babcock Flagship Ltd failed to take action – despite the warning signs raised in earlier health surveillance reports – to prevent the physical damage caused by prolonged use of such tools, causing these three workers pain and discomfort."

The HSE estimates that almost two million people in the UK work in conditions that expose them to the risk of suffering permanent nerve damage caused by vibration-related syndromes, such as HAVS and CTS.

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If you have suffered significant ill health or injury because you work with hand-held power tools, call our injury claims advice line today on 0141 530 9158 or fill in our online enquiry form for specialist personal injury advice.

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