Council fined £100 over vibration failings

Excessive use of power tools uncontrolled and without health surveillance

A local authority has been fined £100,000 after seven ground maintenance workers were exposed to the risk of harm from vibration caused by “excessive use of power tools”.

Luton Magistrates heard how the council reported seven cases of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) between May 2015 and June 2016. The affected employees were all part of its grounds maintenance and street care team, looking after the public spaces in Hertfordshire.

Risk unidentified and not assessed

HSE investigators found that the council had neither adequately planned its working methods nor trained or informed employees on the risks to their health.

The authority failed to limit the duration or magnitude of exposure to vibration and did not put in place suitable health surveillance to identify problems at any early stage.

  • Dacorum Borough Council – of The Forum, Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and have been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £28,672.62.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Rubeena Surnam said“This was a case of the council failing to identify the risk from hand arm vibration which is a recognised health risk with potentially disabling consequences.

Unless vibration is identified and properly assessed, an employer won’t know the level of risk and whether action is needed to protect workers.”