Since the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations were introduced in 2005, there have been some landmark cases and fines imposed.
The first prosecution was of Peugeot in 2006 and resulted in a £10k fine.
In June 2018 Balfour Beatty were fined £500K for failing to adequately control the risks to their employees between 2002 – 2011 and for failing to report cases of Vibration White Finger (VWF) as required by RIDDOR .
In August the same year, Nordam Europe were fined £400K when 100 employees were found to have been exposed to potentially harmful levels of hand arm vibration (HAV) for more than 20 years.
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
With a floating workforce it is possible that an employee may come to you with the undiagnosed symptoms of HAVs. If they then have VWF diagnosed, it is up to the current employer to report under RIDDOR. This may lead 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 end up in a prosecution.
Duties under CVaWR
- 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 durations of exposure (including job rotation)
- Keep warm and dry.