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Company Fined After Three Workers Diagnosed With Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

HSE Reveal Nearly Half Enquires Relate To The Condition


A company responsible for maintaining the grounds of a Cornish naval base has been fined after three workers were diagnosed with a debilitating condition.

The workers, who do not wish to be named, were employed by Babcock Flagship Ltd working on the grounds of the HMS Raleigh in Torpoint where they were exposed to high levels of hand arm vibration (HAV) caused by using tools such as hedge cutters and strimmers for long periods of time.

Truro Magistrates Court heard last month that all three were diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) by occupational health providers back in January 2012.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who investigated the case revealed the company was aware each worker had been diagnosed with vibration-related conditions  and that this could be aggravated by vibration.

Babcock Flagship Ltd failed to put control measures in place before or after the condition was identified in the workers, the court was told.

HSE said the Babcock Flagship Ltd failed to assess the risks faced by staff using hedge cutters and strimmers and failed to implement adequate guidelines.

All three of the workers have suffered permanent damage and this has had a significant impact on their quality of life and ability to work.

Babcock Flagship Ltd, Wigmore Street, London, was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after admitting two breaches of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Emma O’Hara said: “Almost half of all the ill-health reports sent to HSE relate to Hand Arm Vibration and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome associated with working with vibrating tools, many from the horticulture industry.

“Babcock Flagship Ltd failed to take action – despite the warning signs raised in earlier health surveillance reports – to prevent the physical damage caused by prolonged use of such tools, causing these three workers pain and discomfort.

“Babcock Flagship Ltd should have properly assessed the level of vibration to which these workers were exposed and limited the amount of time they spent using tools such as hedge cutters and strimmers.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from repetitive strain injuries, such as bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathy and vibration white finger caused by conditions at work, our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.

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