Grounds maintenance firm fined by magistrates in Truro

Babcock Flagship has been fined £10,000 with £10,000 costs after admitting two breaches of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 at Truro Magistrates' Court on 6 May.

The company maintained the grounds of HMS Raleigh naval base in Torpoint, Cornwall, where three unnamed workers were diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome or carpal tunnel syndrome after using hedge cutters and strimmers for long periods.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed the company was aware that each worker had vibration-related conditions or health issues that could be aggravated by vibration, having had health surveillance reports in 2009-11.

But the court heard that Babcock Flagship failed to put control measures in place before or after the condition was identified in the workers.

The HSE said the company failed to properly assess the vibration risks faced by staff using hedge cutters, strimmers and other tools, and failed to implement suitable controls such as limiting exposure to such machinery or providing alternatives. Grounds maintenance staff could work eight hours a day using the same tools.

- For details, see www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav.


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