The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a recent report of prosecution of a company where there had been uncontrolled exposure to hand-arm transmitted vibration. The company had “reckless disregard for their employees’ health”; HAVS is a serious, permanent condition which frequently has lifelong consequences. For up to 25 staff working in motor vehicle repair workshops, there were no restrictions on the type of hand-held power tools employees used or the length of time they were allowed to operate them.
In the notice, published at press.hse.gov.uk/2015/coach-builders-reckless-disregard-for-workers-health/ HSE also noted that the company had no system to replace those tools that were old or worn out, and there was a lack of maintenance meaning that tools were not running at the optimum level to minimise vibration. Workers were not provided with any information or instruction on how to minimise the risk from vibration and there was no health surveillance programme to check for early signs of HAVS among the workforce.
Members will be aware that the risks associated with the use of hand-held power tools and of developing HAVS and carpel tunnel syndrome are well recognised in the industry. IMCA publishes a pocket safety pocket cards, including Hand-arm vibration.
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