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Council hit with £100k fine after exposing workers to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Dacorum Borough Council has been fined £100,000 for exposing seven grounds maintenance workers to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), caused by excessive use of power tools.

Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how the local authority 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.

An investigation by the Health and 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,” the HSE said.

The council 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: “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.”