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#1 Posted : 02 October 2019 14:28:15(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

Good Afternoon,

I'm looking for assistance on the topic of support for an Employee (employed since 1995) that has recently declared he has VWF  by completing a Tier 1 questionairre. He has undertaken an HAVS Tier 2 assessment by an Occupational technician that we provide and has now been escalated to a Tier 4. The appointment has been made for early December. He was a miner back many years ago and has claimed against the NCB while he also receives monthly payments from DHSS. He has completed Health questionairres prior to the Tier 1 and has Not identified any health problems and has decalred himself fully fit.

We monitor Trigger times and completed Vibration risk assessments with Annual health surveillance (but only over the last 3 years)

I'm concerned that this may escalate into a RIDDOR, where we are currently paying FFI on a different case and awaiting the results.

We ensure the employee does not go above the EAV and also he uses vibrating equipment infrequently (once a week).

What additional support should I be giving him i.e: stop him using equipment (he is a 68 yr old mechanical fitter) within a manufacturing sector. He has stipulated on paper that his condition has not got any worse.

Any guidance on this topic would be appreciated. Many Thanks in advance.

Gerry Knowles  
#2 Posted : 02 October 2019 15:15:37(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Gerry Knowles

If this guy was working for me and had been diagnose with Stage 4 HAVs I would not allow him to have any exposure to vibration at all.  Exposure will only make his condition worse.  If he were to make a claim he could argue that you have failed to manage his condition, like wise the HSE would perhaps start and investigation and could prosecute.  This could lead to a significant find and of course FFI.  

On the mater of him declaring himself fit for work, I have seen this before in the utilities industries where people with HAVs will not declare as they are afraid that they will lose their jobs as their employer may not have a position for them with little or no exposure to vibration.  They will just carry on and suffer the consequences. 

I hope this helps. 

thanks 3 users thanked Gerry Knowles for this useful post.
manolan on 04/10/2019(UTC), 6thsense on 08/10/2019(UTC), SJP on 14/10/2019(UTC)
John O'Byrne  
#3 Posted : 04 October 2019 09:15:02(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
John O'Byrne

He needs to comply with teh occ health advice. Until I got that he would be restricted from any exposure. Usual approach is reduced exposure and tehn none depending on the level of damage. I'd also risk asses him and run through it with him explaining why he is restricted - duty of care. 

#4 Posted : 04 October 2019 09:16:29(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

Many Thanks Gerry for the advice.

The Occupational Health provider we use has stated: 

The above named individual is FIT TO WORK and can continue using hand held vibration tools or equipment with the proviso that his daily vibration exposure is kept as low as reasonably practicable and does not exceed the Exposure Action Value (EAV), 2.5m/s2 A(8) whilst further investigations are being carried out.

The Employee has been given letters that state very similar.

He informed us he had VWF July 2018, He did not attend a Tier 2 HAVS assessment in August 2018 as he said he was retiring (Lie). He attended a HAVS Tier 2 in August 2019 and now has an appointment in Dec 2019 for Tier 4.

My Gut feeling is that the Tier 4 will state that he is No longer to use vibration equipment and will be RIDDOR reportable.

Nightmare for me currently as we are under investigation for a HAVS case where an employee informed our HR Manager many many years ago of CTS and she put the information in a file and did'nt tell anyone (me, H&S manager). I did'nt act until it was too late, recieving Health surveillance reports of his condition (he was a gardener). The relevant enforcing authority have been gathering information for the last 16 months. 

#5 Posted : 04 October 2019 15:21:37(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Any employee in our organisation who after health assessment is found to present evidence of HAVS is "taken off the tools" entirely and given other duties.

#6 Posted : 14 October 2019 11:15:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

The reason people are afraid to report symptoms is because of knee jerk reactions by employers to their health conditions and completely pulling them off the tools, this causing more problems as can been seen described above.

As your Occ Heath correctly states there are cases where there is no need to completely remove people from their tools and jobs and livelihoods, however extra care and precautions do need to be taken, for example more frequent assessment and follow ups to ensure conditions do not deteriorate.  

Each case will be unique, go on what your Dr has told you.

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