Breaches of vibration and working at height regulations brings firm £45,000 fine

Firms have been warned of the need to monitor and control vibration at work following the prosecution of an East Sussex firm where a worker developed the painful and debilitating neural condition carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Family-run construction company C J Gowing and Son was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay a further £4,670 in costs after a case brought by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found it in violation of Control of Vibration at Work and Work at Height regulations.

The worker, 35-year-old Andrew Wood, is likely to suffer pain in both hands for the rest of his life as a result of prolonged, unrestricted use of vibrating power tools including hydraulic breakers with the company between July 2010 and March 2012.

Despite several operations, Wood can no longer carry our everyday tasks and is unable to work as a result.

An HSE investigation found there was no control of vibration risks and no health surveillance at the company, Brighton Magistrates' Court heard.

HSE Inspector Amanda Huff said afterwards: "CTS is a painful and debilitating condition that Mr Wood need not have developed had his health and his use of vibrating tools been properly monitored and controlled.

"The onus is on employers to fully consider the risks arising from prolonged use of equipment like hand held breakers, and to ensure their workforce is adequately protected."

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