Merseyside council fined for breach of HAVS law

A Merseyside council has been fined after 29 employees were diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council after workers in its parks and leisure department were affected by HAVS between 2005 and 2009.

In January 2013, Wirral Magistrates’ Court heard that the workers’ duties included grass, hedge and tree cutting, using vibrating equipment. But an HSE investigation showed the council had not properly assessed the risks they faced of using such equipment nor implemented suitable control measures.

The council was fined a total of £25,000 and ordered to pay £9,417 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.

Christina Goddard, the investigating inspector for the HSE, said: “If the appropriate action had been taken, the workers’ condition could have been prevented.”

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