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Sat September 21 2019

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Council fined £100k for HAVS exposure

9 Sep Dacorum Borough Council has been fined £100,000 for exposing seven grounds maintenance workers to the risk of hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), caused by excessive use of power tools.

Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how Dacorum Borough Council reported seven cases of HAVS between May 2015 and June 2016. The affected employees were all part of its grounds maintenance and street care team, looking after the public spaces in Hertfordshire.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the council had neither adequately planned its working methods nor trained or informed employees on the risks to their health.

Furthermore, Dacorum Borough Council did not limit the duration or magnitude of exposure to vibration and failed to put in place suitable health surveillance to identify problems at any early stage.

Dacorum Borough Council, based in Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. It was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £28,672.62.

HSE inspector Rubeena Surnam said after the hearing: “This was a case of the council failing to identify the risk from hand arm vibration which is a recognised health risk with potentially disabling consequences. Unless vibration is identified and properly assessed, an employer won’t know the level of risk and whether action is needed to protect workers.”

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