UK: Two operators fined for safety breaches

Two UK-based construction firms were fined for safety breaches as a result of separate investigations into reported cases of carpel tunnel syndrome and hand arm vibration syndrome to employees.

Derby Crown Court heard how employees at Sandvik Mining and Construction Limited and Sandvik Construction Mobile Crushers and Screeners Limited were regularly exposed to hand arm vibration through the use of a range of vibratory tools in the assembly and servicing of crushers and screeners.

Investigations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the activities of both companies found that Sandvik Mining & Construction Ltd between July 2005 and March 2014 and Sandvik Construction Mobile Crushers and Screeners Ltd between 2007 and February 2013, failed to adequately manage the risk to employees from exposure to vibration including failing to carry out suitable and sufficient assessments for the risk from vibration, and had not made reasonable estimates of employee’s exposure.

Sandvik Mining and Construction Limited of Heathcote Road, Swadlincote, Derbyshire Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,246.

Sandvik Construction Mobile Crushers and Screeners Limited of Heathcote Road, Swadlincote, Derbyshire Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £280,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,246.

HSE inspector Edward Walker said after the hearing: “There is a well-known health risk associated with exposure to hand arm vibration and it is important that measures are put in place to manage the risk. Exposure to hand arm vibration can cause debilitating affects which could have been avoided.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety.

More about the legislation and guidance referred to in this case at these links.

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