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Workers' health put at risk

02 September 2014

A Hampshire manufacturer has appeared in court after allowing the health of employees to be put at risk.


Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers, a precision engineering company based in Andover, was prosecuted by the HSE at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court (28 Aug) for five health and safety breaches.

The offences came to light after an inspection by HSE revealed that risks to health from exposure to vibration, noise and dust had not been adequately managed or controlled.

HSE found that the company, which produces metal castings for a range of industries, had no effective management systems to control exposure to the health risks to their employees. As a result, workers experienced a range of symptoms which required further investigation and monitoring.

Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers was fined £7000 and ordered to pay £1379 in costs after admitting single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005; and two breaches of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Michael Baxter said: "The company failed to fully control the numerous risks arising from its business activities. This has meant several employees developing symptoms relating to exposure to vibration, noise and dust, which could have been picked up sooner as part of a health surveillance programme. "Brooks Crownhill Patternmakers did not respond to changing workloads and processes, and failed to act on advice provided by its occupational health provider or by contractors servicing equipment.

"The company has since reviewed and made significant changes to its risk management and occupational health monitoring.”

Employees exposed to high levels of vibration at work risk developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, which is serious and disabling. Damage impacts on hand and finger dexterity, including the inability to undertake minor day-to-day tasks, and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks.