Peter Duffy Ltd, a civil engineering company in Lofthouse, England, was sentenced on 19 August 2021 for safety violations after numerous employees were diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
This syndrome causes sensation changes to the fingers and can lead to permanent numbness, muscle weakness and white fingers due to inadequate blood flow.
Between November 2016 and August 2018, Peter Duffy Ltd reported seven cases of HAVS within the company – in which all employees carried out groundworks using vibrating tools.
Most of the affected individuals had worked in the sector for more than 20 years.
In 2016, the company contracted a new occupational health provider to replace its existing one. Through this switch, the diagnosis of the workers happened.
An investigation into the company discovered that before this significant change, the company had no suitable health surveillance in motion to identify HAVS.
On 19 August 2021, Peter Duffy Ltd of Park View, Lofthouse, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £3,919 in costs.
Jeremy Sirrell, a Director at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to conduct a risk assessment and put safety procedures in place has led to an incident that could have been prevented.
“If you have encountered a similar incident, it is vital that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”
For help and guidance on all aspects of Health and Safety Law, be that advice on a potential health and safety investigation or prosecution, please contact our expert team today.