East Cowes firm GKN Aerospace have been prosecuted today for failing to meet safety regulations for a least six years, leaving a number of employees with permanent nerve damage.
At a court hearing in Portsmouth today, it was heard how five workers based at the firm’s East Cowes factory have been left with damage to their circulation and nerve systems caused by hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
The company were fined a total of £26,800 and ordered to pay full costs of £8,256 after admitting four breaches of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 between July 2005 and December 2011.
It is understood the group of five showed advanced symptoms of the well-known condition after prolonged use of several vibrating hand tools. The nerve damage affects their ability to carry out finer tasks needing dexterity, meaning they lack grip and can often drop objects. Their circulation problems mean their hands become white and dead in the cold, with extreme pain on warming.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the claims and brought the prosecution against the multi-million pound company after it was found that GKN had failed to comply with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations since they became law in July 2005.
The safety failings were unearthed after a statutory report of diagnoses was given to the HSE. Following the HSE investigation an Improvement Notice was served on GKN giving the company a timeframe to make specified improvements.
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