With Halloween just around the corner, it seems an appropriate time to highlight the importance of HAVS management to avoid a nightmare that lasts longer than a cold October evening. HAVS can haunt both employers and workers for years and it won’t give you the choice between ‘Trick or Treat’.
To highlight the potential impact of HAVS on employers and employees, we’ve delved into the real-world fines, legal bills, and compensation claims that businesses have been hit with, along with the direct effects of HAVS on employees.
Fines are issued when employers are found to have not taken the correct precautions for monitoring and protecting employees from HAVS. These fines are limitless and often have the potential to be business ending cases. Recent fines include £200,000 for Ross & Catherall Limited (manufacturers of metal bars, July 23), £200,000 for Plymouth Council (July 23), £160,000 for Powys Health Board (November 2022), £50,000 for Lancaster County Council (May 2022), and a £90,000 fine for MTL Advanced Limited (February 22), with a total of a staggering £2.5 million in HAVS fines issued over the past seven years, excluding legal costs or further civil compensation claims.
Could your business cope with fine of this nature?…
It is important to highlight that legal costs are in addition to fines and claims and when an organisation is found guilty of a regulation breach, they are liable for the legal costs of the case. Examples of this include £10,000 legal costs for Lancaster County Council and £14,061 for MTL Advanced Limited in addition to the fines outlined above.
Legal costs can mount up and add to the overall cost of a prosecution, but don’t forget to factor in the cost of the time it is going to take for your business to prepare for legal proceedings as you evidence your defence.
These are made by individuals against the employer they were carrying out the work on behalf of when their injuries occurred. These claims can be sizable, depending on the amount and severity of damage the person has received. The severity of a HAVS related health issue is increased due to the irreparable nature of them. The fact that they affect your hands and arms and significantly affect the person’s ability to lead a normal life will increase the value of any compensation claim brought against an employer.
Thompsons Solicitors, together with UNISON, won £262,000 compensation for Adrian Bideau, a Norfolk roadworker, forced out of his job at 25, due to his developing hand, arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome because of using vibrating tools such as breaker packs, whacker plates and saws.
Whilst this was believed to be one of the largest reported claims, other HAVS-related claims have been for less, the range of claims the Judicial College gives as a guide is from £2,390 to £30,630 depending on the type and severity of injury.
The frightening Human Cost of HAVS Mismanagement
HAVS is irreversible and typically affect fingers, hands, and arms. This can range from white fingers, tingling and a loss of circulation and sensation, through to diagnosed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) and into Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Dupuytren’s Contracture, none of which are pleasant and all painful, whilst Carpal Tunnel and Dupuytren’s can be operated through surgery, it is not guaranteed to relieve the condition, HAVS is irreversible, its there for the rest of the sufferers life.
The impact of these permanent conditions affects the daily routines of people and in many cases the victims are workers with a young family. This means not only do their personal daily tasks become a painful minefield to navigate, but their interaction with their children and family becomes restricted and frustrating. These potentially huge effects on someone’s personal and professional life need to be taken seriously.
What’s the solution to for accurately monitoring and reporting of HAVS?
At HAVSPRO, we’ve developed a tool-mounted measuring and monitoring system with a comprehensive easy to use cloud-based reporting system. The system allows you to identify different tools, any deterioration in those tools, operator training requirements, consumables efficiency, produce reports, receive warnings and a whole lot more to help and guide you through the minefield that is HAVS and indeed WBV by taking and making informed decisions.
Don’t let the fines for non-compliance creep up on you, take precautions now and find out more by downloading our brochure below.