Land Rover has been landed with a bill of more than £80,000 for failing to take into account the risks associated with workers at its Lode Lane plant in Solihull using vibrating hand tools.
Land Rover pleaded guilty to the charges brought against it in relation to activities at its plant and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £60,606 costs.
The firm was prosecuted after a HSE investigation in 2007 into the working practices concerning two employees in the weld destruct section where air chisels were used to undo welds on cars to test the strength of them.
Two cases of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) had been reported in December 2006. The subsequent investigation found that vibrating hand tools were being used across the plant with a lack of assessment and management of risk and when a health surveillance regime was then made effective, other cases came to light.
Solihull Magistrates also heard there was no system in place to measure how long was being spent using the tools by each employee or the levels of vibration. The recommended amount of time for one of the tools to be used was one hour per day per person, but it had been in use for three hours per day.
Land Rover pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
HSE inspector Gareth Langston said: “The fact that sister plant Jaguar had addressed the issues, does suggest that this particular instance was an oversight on the part of the company.
"However, lessons need to be learned by employers – to ensure that working practices are suitably assessed for any risk.
“Employers must ensure that the use of vibrating hand tools is properly managed, and it is unacceptable that Land Rover did not do this – as this is a disabling condition involving pain and significant loss of hand function, and is usually irreversible in later stages.”