Powys Teaching Health Board has been fined £160,000 after a group of employees were left with permanent damage to their hands after using power tools.
Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the health board was found to have failed to carry out correct risk assessments on three workers. The workers then went on to be diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
HAVS causes changes in the sensation of the fingers which can lead to permanent numbness of fingers, muscle weakness and, in some cases, bouts of white finger. It is caused by working with vibrating tools.
Powys Teaching Health Board pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court on November 22. The health board was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,599.
Carol Shillabeer, chief executive of Powys Teaching Health Board, said: “Powys Teaching Health Board fully accepts today’s verdict and we apologise to affected staff and their families.
“We have ensured that learning has been put into effect, and we have made crucial improvements to prevent such events from happening again.
“We have a strong commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing and hope the improvements we have made provide reassurance to staff and to the public.”