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Masthead Local Govt - Regulatory

Council fined £150k over failures on hand arm vibration syndrome

A Welsh council has been fined £150,000 after a 57-year old employee in its StreetScene department was diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

The Wrexham County Borough Council employeed was diagnosed with HAVS in September 2015.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the council had failed to address the issue of HAVS following an audit in February 2011 which identified a failure to assess the risk to employees from vibration.

Wrexham had developed a number of policies dating back to 2004 to tackle the risk of HAVS, however it was found these policies were not implemented.

Following the introduction of HAVS occupational health surveillance for users of vibrating tools a further eleven diagnoses of HAVS or Carpal tunnel syndrome had been reported, the HSE said.

Wrexham CBC pleaded guilty at Mold Magistrates’ Court to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

It was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,901.35

HSE inspector Mhairi Duffy said: “This employee now suffers from a long term, life changing illness. The council should have implemented the policy they devised following the audit in 2011.

“Workers’ health should not be made worse by the work they do; all employees have the right to go home healthy at the end of the working day.”

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