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Permanent Damage to Nerves of Worker Could Have Been Prevented
Posted by David Cant on April 7, 2013

On 25 March 2013 GKN Aerospace was fined after they failed to ensure the safety of their employees for a minimum of six years. As a result of their failings multiple employees have been left with damage to their nerves and the damage is permanent.

Vibration Tools Led to Damage of the Nerves and Circulation

The employees were working for GKN at their Isle of White location. Five workers have been affected by the nerve damage that is a result of hand arm vibration syndrome. All the employees asked not to be name in the court case. They each started to experience symptoms of the hand arm vibration syndrome which occurred as they all used vibrating tools as part of the work.

In addition to the nerve damage the employees also have damage to their circulation. The workers have extreme pain when their hands warm up after being cold and their hands are white and dead in cold temperatures.  They are unable to carry out work that requires dexterity and they have a poor grip and this leads to objects frequently falling out of their hands.

No Control Measures Introduced

The Health and Safety Executive investigated. They found that the firm had discovered the symptoms experienced by the workers back in 2009.  Despite being aware of the problem GKN didn’t apply control measures and they failed to perform a risk assessment. These measures should have been applied in order to protect the other workers from experiencing the same long term damage.  The inspectors also found that the firm had not reported the problem to the HSE.

After the investigation was completed GKN were given a Prohibition Notice. The Notice demanded that the company must make improvements within a set timeframe.  Additionally the company was fined after admitting that they had failed to comply with the Control of Vibration Work Regulations. They were given a £26,800 fine and ordered to pay £8,256 in costs.

Occupational Health and Safety Cannot be Ignored

As a company you have a duty not to ignore the health and safety of your employees. These are vital responsibilities that need to be dealt with. If you are unsure of how to protect your employees from occupational health hazards contact your health and safety consultants.

Consultants have multiple health and safety services that are available.  Occupational health and safety needs to be carefully managed, even If you think the work being carried out is low risk. When using vibration tools you must insure that you introduce control measures and are in complete compliance with the Control of Vibration Work Regulations.

Need help? Call our team on 0800 1488 677 to receive information on our services and for further advice on your health and safety management.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting.

You can find him on - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Construction health and safety

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