Since the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations were introduced in 2005, there have been some landmark cases and fines imposed including:
- The first prosecution was of Peugeot in 2006 and resulted in a £10k fine.
- In June 2018 Balfour Beatty was fined £500K for failing to adequately control the risks and for failing to report cases of Vibration White Finger (VWF) as required by RIDDOR.
- In August 2018, Nordam Europe was fined £400K when 100 employees were found to have been exposed to Vibration
- In October 2018 British Airways Engineering were fined £80k for failing to adequately assess the risk from the use of vibrating tools.
- Since 2016 fines for Vibration-related prosecutions have totalled in excess of £2.3m
As with any workforce, it is possible that an employee may come to you with the undiagnosed symptoms of HAVs, caused by other activities or previous employment. If so, this will need to be very closely assessed to ensure everything is in place and full justification is established as to if the case will be reported under RIDDOR.
Unfortunately, we see this sometimes leads to an investigation by the HSE and whilst the harm may have been caused whilst working for a previous employer, any failure to manage the risks identified at your workplace may cause you headaches.
- To identify if you have any vibrating tools in the workplace
- To carry out an assessment
- To eliminate the risk or reduce exposure so far as is reasonably practicable
- To provide training to employees on the risks
- To implement health surveillance
- To record exposure.
When considering how to control the risks it is imperative that you follow the hierarchy of control:
- Eliminate vibration exposure by changing the work processes
- Reduce exposure by mechanisation
- Reduce exposure by good process control
- Avoid high-vibration tools, machines and accessories
- Maintain machines and accessories
- Reduce the transmission of vibration into the hand
- Reduce the duration of exposure (including job rotation)
- Keep warm and dry