Workers from 59 companies underwent screening for the condition, which were performed by inadequately trained staff from Audio Medical Services Ltd. As a result, employers were not given the required information regarding the dangers of HAVS, they were not informed of how the condition can be prevented, nor were they referred to occupational health professionals when the condition arose.
HAVS is caused by the repeated, regular use of hand-held machinery or power tools, which causes circulatory problems in the hand/arm region. The condition is irreversible and has varying levels of severity. Symptoms include pain, numbness, stiffness and reduced manual dexterity.
It can be an extremely uncomfortable condition and can have a hug impact on the everyday lives of those affected by it.
Needless to say, when it was learnt that workers had been screened by unqualified staff from Audio Medical Services Ltd, the case was taken to court and the Cornwall based company pleaded guilty to being in breach of Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974.
Georgina Speake of the Health and Safety Executive commented:
“AMS’s negligent behaviour meant a significant number of workers have been put at risk of worsening their conditions by continuing with their normal work practices when they should have stopped.”
AMS Ltd were fined £3,200 and ordered to pay courts costs of £5,000.