Places for People Homes fined £600k after employees develop HAVS

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Places for People Homes has been fined £600,000 after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that between 2009 and 2014 five employees of property management and development organisation, Places for People Homes, used vibrating powered tools to carry out grounds maintenance tasks at sites in Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Hull.

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

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

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew McGill, 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.”

What is HAVS?

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) commonly manifests as white finger or carpal tunnel syndrome, HAVS is caused by the transfer of shaking through a workers hands and arms, in as little as 6 months. Nerve damage and restricted blood flow to the hand and fingers can occur, this causes the debilitating symptoms and effects known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome.

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