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Tue May 11 2021

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Council fined £150k for HAVS failings

5 Oct 17 Wrexham Council has been fined after a 57-year old man was diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

HAVS can be highly debilitating
HAVS can be highly debilitating

Wrexham Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee of the council’s StreetScene department had been diagnosed with HAVS in September 2015.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the council 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. The council had developed a number of policies dating back to 2004 to tackle the risk of HAVS but they were never implemented.

Following the introduction of HAVS occupational health surveillance for users of vibrating tools, a further 11 diagnoses of HAVS or Carpal tunnel syndrome have been reported.

Wrexham County Borough Council pleaded guilty 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 after the hearing: “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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