Property management company fined after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

A property management and development organisation has been fined after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

The Crown Court heard that between 2009 and 2014 five employees of the company used vibrating powered tools to carry out grounds maintenance tasks at various sites.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to assess or manage the risks associated with vibrating 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.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £600,000, and ordered to pay costs of £13,995.06

Speaking after the hearing, the HSE inspector 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.”