British Airways fined over hand arm vibrations

British Airways has been fined £6,500 for failing to protect its workers from hand arm vibrations.

The airline exposed employees working at a composite workshop in Glasgow to hand arm vibrations, a condition that can cause symptoms such as tingling, pins and needles, numbness and pain in the affected persons hands.

Staff at the workshop used hand-held power tools during the course of their work, to carry out repairs on various components.

Hand arm vibration can affect sleep when it occurs at night and cause difficulties in gripping and holding things, particularly small items such as screws, doing up buttons, writing and driving.

Businesses should ensure they have a sufficient level of employers’ liability insurance to help cover them if they are prosecuted for an incident at work.

The Health and Safety Executive, which investigated British Airways, said the airline had failed to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to control the effect of exposure by workers to the vibrations from hand held tools.

“Potentially this exposed the workforce to the risk of injury whilst working within the workshops,” the regulator said.

British Airways PLC, Waterside, Harmondsworth, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 (1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) and was fined £6,500.