Carpel tunnel syndrome and hand arm vibration syndrome – companies fined


2 mins

Posted on 17 May 2016

Two Derbyshire-based construction firms were fined for safety breaches as a result of separate investigations into reported cases of carpel tunnel syndrome and hand arm vibration syndrome to employees.

Employees at Sandvik Mining and Construction Limited and Sandvik Construction Mobile Crushers and Screeners Limited were regularly exposed to hand arm vibration through the use of a range of vibratory tools in the assembly and servicing of crushers and screeners.

Investigations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the activities of both companies found that they failed to adequately manage the risk to employees from exposure to vibration, including failing to carry out suitable and sufficient assessments for the risk from vibration, and had not made reasonable estimates of employees’ exposure.

Sandvik Mining and Construction Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,246.

Sandvik Construction Mobile Crushers and Screeners Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £280,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,246.

Recommendations for preventing exposure to vibrations hazards

  • Ensure a bespoke occupational risk assessment is recorded and suitable occupational monitoring is put in place to assess exposure of workers to hand arm vibration risks

The HSE recommends the tiered system as follows:

  • Tier 1 is a short questionnaire used as a first check for people moving into jobs involving exposure to vibration 
  • Tier 2 is a short questionnaire (annual screening questionnaire) that you can issue once a year
  • Tier 3 involves a HAVS health assessment by a qualified person (eg an occupational
  • health nurse)
  • Tier 4 involves a formal diagnosis and is carried out by a doctor qualified in occupational health. The doctor will advise you on the employee's fitness for work.
  • Tier 5 is optional and involves referral of the employee for certain tests for HAVS.
  • The results may help the doctor assess fitness for work.

    Further information on HAVS can be found on the HSE website

    Doyle Clayton can support your business with providing health and safety advice and support. Please contact Sally Beck for further information.

    The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.