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Workers’ health put at risk by Hampshire firm

Date:
29 August 2014

A Hampshire manufacturer has appeared in court after allowing the health of employees to be put at risk.

Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers Ltd, a precision engineering company based in Andover, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court (28 Aug) for five health and safety breaches.

The offences came to light after an inspection by HSE revealed that risks to health from exposure to vibration, noise and dust had not been adequately managed or controlled.

HSE found that Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers, which produces metal castings for a range of industries, had no effective management systems to control exposure to the health risks to their employees. As a result, workers experienced a range of symptoms which required further investigation and monitoring.

Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers Ltd of North Way, Walworth Industrial Estate, Andover, was fined a total of £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,379 in costs after admitting single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005; and two breaches of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Michael Baxter said:

“The company failed to fully control the numerous risks arising from its business activities. This has meant several employees developing symptoms relating to exposure to vibration, noise and dust, which could have been picked up sooner as part of a health surveillance programme. “Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers did not respond to changing workloads and processes, and failed to act on advice provided by its occupational health provider or by contractors servicing equipment.

“The company has since reviewed and made significant changes to its risk management and occupational health monitoring.”

Employees exposed to high levels of vibration at work risk developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, which is serious and disabling. Damage impacts on hand and finger dexterity, including the inability to undertake minor day-to-day tasks, and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks. For information, go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  3. Regulation 6 of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall ensure that his employees are provided with such health surveillance as is appropriate having regard to the risks to their health and safety which are identified by the assessment.”
  4. Regulation 6(1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 states: “The employer shall ensure that risk from the exposure of his employees to vibration is either eliminated at source or, where this is not reasonably practicable, reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.”
  5. Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 states: “Every employer shall ensure that the exposure of his employees to substances hazardous to health is either prevented or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled.”
  6. Regulation 9(3) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 states: “Where respiratory protective equipment (other than disposable respiratory protective equipment) is provided, the employer shall ensure that thorough examination and, where appropriate, testing of that equipment is carried out at suitable intervals.”

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