Developer in Milton Keynes hit with huge fine over 'white finger syndrome'

A developer has been fined a massive £600,000 after worker developed 'white finger' syndrome after using vibrating power tools on sites in Milton Keynes.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 3:12 pm
White finger syndrome

Places for People Homes Limited was prosecuted for breaking health and safety regulations the after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that employees used vibrating powered tools to carry out ground maintenance work at sites in Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Hull between 2009 and 2014.

An HSE investigation found the company failed to assess or manage the risks associated with vibrating tools.

It also failed to provide suitable training or health surveillance for its workers and failed to maintain and replace tools, which increased their vibration levels.

Places for People pleaded guilty to safety breaches. The company was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of almost £14,000.

HSE inspector Andrew McGill said after the case: “Companies must manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. Hand arm vibration can be a significant health risk wherever powered hand tools are used for significant lengths of time.

“HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent. Damage from HAVS can include the inability to do fine work and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks.

“Health surveillance is vital to detect and respond to early signs of damage.”

Hand-arm vibration syndrome, often dubbed 'white finger syndrome' causes changes in the sensation of the fingers. This can lead to perrmanent numbness of fingers, muscle weakness and bouts of white finger. It is almost always caused by working with vibrating tools.