An engineering firm which put its employees at risk of exposure to vibration, noise and dust has been fined £7,000.
Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers Ltd, of Andover in Hampshire, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for five breaches which put the wellbeing of its staff at risk.
At a hearing at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, the HSE revealed that a routine inspection had uncovered the risks.
It found that the company, which makes metal castings for industry, had failed to implement an effective management system to control exposure to health risks. Because of this, employees’ health had suffered, with staff reporting a number of symptoms which needed further tests and monitoring.
Arm Vibration Syndrome
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Michael Baxter said several employees had developed symptoms relating to exposure to noise, vibration and dust. He added that this was due to the company not controlling the risks that were associated with its work.
People who are exposed to vibration for a prolonged period are in danger of developing Arm Vibration Syndrome, a condition which can have damaging effects on hand and finger dexterity as well pain in the fingers.
According to Mr Baxter, the company didn’t adequately deal with changing workloads and processes, and ignored advice from both the occupational health provider and contractors servicing equipment.
He said a health surveillance programme would have picked up on the symptoms some members of staff were experiencing and further action could have been taken.
Since the investigation, Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers Ltd has held a review into its working practices and made changes to it risk management and occupational health monitoring.
The company, of North Way, Walworth Industrial Estate, Andover, was fined a total of £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,379 in costs after admitting single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005; and two breaches of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
Source: Health And Safety At Work