United Kingdom: Council prosecuted after worker loses movement in hands.

Cheshire East Council was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), United Kingdom, after a 56-year-old mechanic developed a severe form of hand arm vibration syndrome. Since 1984, the worker regularly used heavy-duty vibrating equipment, including pneumatic drills and hand-held grinders.

The investigation inspector at HSE explained:  "The worker was first diagnosed as developing hand arm vibration syndrome in 2005 but the council failed to take any significant action for nearly four years to stop the condition getting worse. The council should have limited the amount of time he spent using vibrating equipment, or provided alternative tools. Instead, he was allowed to continue with his job without any changes. If this action had been taken, the worker's condition could have been prevented from becoming serious. Instead, he has suffered a permanent loss of movement to his hands."

Cheshire East Council was fined £5,300 and ordered to pay £5,860 towards the cost of the prosecution. Cheshire East is the third largest unitary authority in the North West of UK.


Source: Council prosecuted after worker loses movement in hands. Health and Safety Executive, Release No: HSE/NW/73CheshireEast; 21 January 2011.


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