Monday 19 August 2013

7 cases of hand-arm vibration syndrome at Bolton company

A Bolton limousine and hearse manufacturer has been fined after seven employees developed injures due to hand-arm vibration.
The circumstances were:
  • Employees of Woodall Nicholson Ltd . used, almost daily, hand-held equipment, such as grinders, saws and pneumatic tools, all of which constantly vibrate.
  • Woodall Nicholson Ltd failed to ensure that risk from exposure to vibration from the tools was reduced as low as reasonably practicable and over a protracted period of time.
  • Seven men, aged between 25 and 62, developed the condition due to hand-arm vibration while working between July 2005 and December 2011.
  • Symptoms include tingling and numbness in their fingers which can cause sleep disturbance, not being able to feel things with their fingers, loss of strength in their hands, and suffering pain in their fingertips during cold weather known as Vibration White Finger. The condition is incurable and will affect the workers for the rest of their lives.
  • HSE issued an Improvement Notice requiring changes to working practices after being made aware of the workers' condition. 
  • The company has since introduced measures to reduce the level of vibration by buying new lower-level vibrating tools and reducing the amount of time workers spend using them.

Woodall Nicholson Ltd was fined £23,485 (inc. costs).
The HSE Inspector said:
"Some of the workers now have difficulty picking up small objects, such as screws and nails, which is essential for the job they do. They will also suffer some level of pain in their hands for the rest of their lives. The risks of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome are well known in the manufacturing industry and employers have a legal duty to make sure the exposure of workers to vibrating equipment is kept as low as possible.

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