Company fined for exposing workers to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Nordam Europe Limited, who maintain and repair aircraft components, have been fined £400,000 after 100 workers developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) over a period of 22 years. At least 30 workers were exposed to risk of significant harm. 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at its facility in Blackwood, Gwent found that workers used a range of hand-held vibrating tools including rivet guns, drills, grinders and orbital sanders. Nordam Europe should have carried out a suitable assessment of work activities which exposed employees to vibration and should have implemented additional controls to reduce exposure. However, the investigation found that the company failed in their duty to implement a safe system of work in order to control exposure to vibration. 

In addition, the company failed to provide workers with suitable health surveillance to identify HAVS symptoms at an early stage, which would have prevented the disease from progressing in to a disabling condition. 

Nordam Europe pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £39,620. 

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