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Petersfield company fined £10,500 for health and safety breaches

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is urging companies to assess the risks to their employees from exposure to vibration, after a Hampshire company was fined £10,500 for ignoring the safety of a worker.

Tews Engineering Limited, based in Petersfield, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to contravening Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to protect the health of employees, and Regulation 3(1) of The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 for failing to carry out a proper risk assessment. The company was fined £8,500 for the first offence and £2000 for the second offence, plus costs of £10,500 at Aldershot Magistrates Court yesterday, following a prosecution by HSE.

HSE Inspector Ray Kelly said:

"The worker in this case has suffered unnecessary, permanent disability because of a failure to manage his health and safety at work. Employers should take heed that when HSE finds evidence of flagrant breaches of health and safety law, particularly where there is a history of previous warnings and advice as was the case here, we will not hesitate to prosecute."

The employee, Bill Leonard, made a complaint to HSE about his excessive use of vibrating tools while working at Tews Engineering, which had caused him to suffer ‘Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome’ (HAVS).

Mr Leonard informed his employer of his symptoms and asked to be re-deployed for the sake of his health. However, the company continued to require him to work predominantly with vibrating tools, exacerbating his health problems. Mr Leonard now has permanent damage to his hand, making it impossible for him to continue his work.