£600,000 fine for HAVS offences

Another company where employees were not protected from vibration that led to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) has been prosecuted by HSE. It has been fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,995.06.

Five employees of Places for People Homes Ltd based in Cheapside, London, developed HAVS while working for the company.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard this month (12 November) that between 2009 and 2014 the five employees used powered tools to carry out grounds maintenance tasks at sites in Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Hull.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to assess or manage the risks from vibration associated with using the tools. It also failed to provide suitable training or health surveillance for its maintenance workers and failed to maintain and replace tools, which increased vibration levels.

Places for People Homes Ltd admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. 

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew McGill said: “Companies must manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. Hand arm vibration can be a significant health risk wherever powered hand tools are used for significant lengths of time.

“HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent. Damage from HAVS can include the inability to do fine work and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks. Health surveillance is vital to detect and respond to early signs of damage.”