Hand-arm vibration results in fine for national airline
A national airline has been fined following a guilty plea to a breach of health and safety regulations.
Workers at British Airways PLC’s Glasgow base suffered exposure to the risks of hand-arm vibration (HAV), when using power tools during the course of their daily work. Paisley Sheriff Court was informed that employees at the Glasgow base routinely used handheld power tools for repairs on a number of components. As a result, the workers suffered exposure to the threat of HAV, which can produce symptoms in a person's hands. These include pain, numbness, tingling, and paraesthesia (pins and needles).
HAV can have an adverse impact on the sleep pattern of an individual due to symptoms occurring at night. It may also make it more difficult for a person to hold or grip items, and particularly affect their ability to write, hold small items, fasten buttons and drive.
According to an investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), British Airways PLC had failed to produce a suitable risk assessment in order to control the impact of handheld power tools on its workers. This created a potential risk of exposure to injury for workers while they were working inside the workshops at the site. The company was fined £6,500 for a breach of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations, specifically Regulation 5 (1).
All employers have a duty of care to employees, providing risk assessments and PPE in circumstances where it is required.