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Pipe maker failed to head off carpal tunnel syndrome

A Newport, Wales-based drainage pipe manufacturer which allowed its employees to use vibrating tools without proper training or practical controls to reduce the risk of vibration must pay more than £227,000.

There were seven reported cases of CTS and HAVS at Asset International between April 2014 and July 2015
There were seven reported cases of CTS and HAVS at Asset International between April 2014 and July 2015 | Image credit: ©iStock/Eraxion

Between April 2014 and July 2015 there were seven reported cases of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) or carpal tunnel syndrome at Asset International. The company had not carried out a sufficient risk assessment or health surveillance, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found. 

Asset International, which makes large diameter plastic pipes, was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,724 after pleading guilty to offences under Regulations 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. Under these regulations employers are required to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, eliminate or control the exposure of vibration at the workplace, carry out a health surveillance, and ensure their employees are properly informed and trained.  

After the hearing at Newport Crown Court, HSE inspector Joanne Carter said the risks of HAVS are “serious and irreversible”, adding: “This case shows there is no excuse for not putting in place a management system which includes risk assessment, control, measures, health surveillance and information and training to reduce these risks to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.”

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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