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mjr1991  
#1 Posted : 22 June 2022 11:06:11(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
mjr1991

Me again!

We have an employee in the workshop who had suspected HAVS, so we took him off the tools while he was awaiting diagnosis. Now his specialist has come back with a letter saying that it is not HAVS and that he can go back on the tools. The employee has taken this as gospel and has helped himself to all the power tools.

My line manager is saying that he can't go back on the tools because he has a currently undiagnosed condition that appeared to get better when he was off the tools. I agree with my manager, he definitely has something wrong that affects how his hands work and his ability to grip tools etc, we just don't know what. Not just from a H&S perspective, but from a moral one too, we don't want to exacerbate any condition that may affect him later in life.

The employee is basically hinting at constructive dismissal, saying that he feels like he is being kept of the tools to force him out of the business. But we have made reasonable adjustments for him, we moved him to yard work and have allowed him to use tools which were assessed (by a third party) to produce very little vibration.

I'd really appreciate some more advice on this one, please.

Brian Hagyard  
#2 Posted : 22 June 2022 11:21:03(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Brian Hagyard

Mike - tricky one to answer - but what is your overall policy on dealing with Havs? Do you know what exposure staff are faceing Do you have health survalance in place? You say he has been to see a speaclist but have you referd him to an occupational health specalist and recieved a report of action needed?

I would never rely on a persons own Doctors report as you have no idea what information he has given the Dr - for example has he told him how much time does he spend on tools. We have collegues who have come to us with Havs from previouse employment, hobbies etc and we limit thier exposure to tools.

mjr1991  
#3 Posted : 22 June 2022 11:37:25(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
mjr1991

Originally Posted by: Brian Hagyard Go to Quoted Post

Mike - tricky one to answer - but what is your overall policy on dealing with Havs? Do you know what exposure staff are faceing Do you have health survalance in place? You say he has been to see a speaclist but have you referd him to an occupational health specalist and recieved a report of action needed?

I would never rely on a persons own Doctors report as you have no idea what information he has given the Dr - for example has he told him how much time does he spend on tools. We have collegues who have come to us with Havs from previouse employment, hobbies etc and we limit thier exposure to tools.

We have annual occ health screenings in place where a HAVS specific screening is carried out on every employee as we are a fabrication company. We have had all tools testing for vibration and have exposure limits in place along with log books for staff to fill in, though they never do. We also have another employee with confirmed HAVS who works in the yard, with no issues.

The letter we have is from the hand specialist (or whatever the proper term is) that he was referred to. Our occ health provider has recommended we have them carry out a tier 4 assessment on him, which is where my manager and I disagree, as I think we should have the assessment done, my manager does not as he doesn't want to pay for it.

peter gotch  
#4 Posted : 22 June 2022 11:53:35(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Mike

Your OH provider would recommend that THEY do another assessment wouldn't they [I am thinking as your manager might be!].

But, you have a contract with that OH provider for a reason - so you either trust their judgement or get a second opinion as to what is needed [which second opinion could easily cost more than the assessment that has been recommended].

OR you can keep this employee off the tools and face potential litigation - time to get the HR bod involved?

I'm with you on this. Take the easy option and let this person back on the tools - if their condition is exacerbated, my guess is that the Courts would be very unsympathetic EVEN if you are following what the employee has said about NOT having HAVS.

Whether you call it HAVS or an undiagnosed condition is unlikely to make a lot of difference - on the tools teh condition happens, off the tools the condition improves. Ergo it is probably that working on the tools is correlated with the severity of the condition.

...and when it comes to the crunch it is for the employer to prove on the balance of probabilities that you have done all that was reasonably practicable.

Very difficult I think that you could reach that threshold of proof without further assessment.

Good luck with a very delicate tightrope.

Oh, and remember to update your CPD record about this scenario and how you help the process of coming to a "suitable and sufficient" assessment of the risks and appropriate mitigations.

P

thanks 1 user thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
Brian Hagyard on 22/06/2022(UTC)
Brian Hagyard  
#5 Posted : 22 June 2022 14:17:19(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Brian Hagyard

with the extra info you have provided i would now agree with Peter - going against your Occ Health providers advice is a definate recipe for disaster.

mjr1991  
#6 Posted : 22 June 2022 14:58:05(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
mjr1991

So it turns out that our occ health provider have agreed that we should keep him off the tools until we know more about his condition. Apparently legally we can take advice from whoever we want, as long as the advice comes from a source of the same level e.g. a different specialist. So we are following occ health guidance of keeping him off the tools and are looking to book him in for a tier 4 assessment.

Roundtuit  
#7 Posted : 22 June 2022 15:52:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Of course it could just be what are normally considerd old age ailments such as the onset of arthritis

Roundtuit  
#8 Posted : 22 June 2022 15:52:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Of course it could just be what are normally considerd old age ailments such as the onset of arthritis

stevedm  
#9 Posted : 22 June 2022 16:12:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
stevedm

Originally Posted by: MikeRavenscroft Go to Quoted Post

So it turns out that our occ health provider have agreed that we should keep him off the tools until we know more about his condition. Apparently legally we can take advice from whoever we want, as long as the advice comes from a source of the same level e.g. a different specialist. So we are following occ health guidance of keeping him off the tools and are looking to book him in for a tier 4 assessment.

Right decision...

incidentally security image is appropriate...mzzz.. amused my small mind :)

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