Isle of Wight firm prosecuted for work injuries

A firm in the Isle of Wight has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for work injuries to five people.

GKN Aerospace failed to heed safety regulations for at least 6 years, which resulted in a group of employees sustaining permanent nerve damage.

Portsmouth Magistrates were told that five people working at GKN on the Isle of Wight had been left with long term damage to their circulation and nerve systems after developing hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

The employees, who have asked not to be named, developed advanced symptoms if HAVS after prolonged use of vibrating hand tools, which were used as part of their work building engine casings at the East Cowes plant of GKN.

Their circulatory problems mean that their hands become white and dead in the cold, with severe pain on warming up. The nerve damage they have sustained affects their ability to carry out finer tasks needing dexterity, meaning they lack grip and can often drop objects.

The HSE investigated and brought prosecution after they found that GKN had failed to comply with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations since they became law in January 2006.

The court heard that a GKN health surveillance programme identified that five employees were suffering from advance debilitating work injuries in 2009. Despite this, the company continued as before and failed to assess the risks and put controls in place to protect the significant number of remaining employees.

The health and safety failings came to light after GKN fulfilled its statutory obligation to report the diagnoses to the HSE.

Following the HSE investigation GKN was served an improvement notice to make specified improvements within a timeframe.

Vicki Wright, personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co Solicitors comments, “It is vital that employers protect their staff. Everyone has a right to go to work and perform their duties without injury.”

“GKN Aerospace had the resources to protect their employees from the well-known effects of exposure to hand-arm vibration. However, they failed to do so on numerous occasions.”

“These employees have sustained permanent and irreversible work injuries.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident at work that was not your fault or sustained work related injuries, you may be entitled to claim for personal injury and any associated losses.

We offer you free initial advice and work on a no win no fee basis, so call Vicki Wright or Melanie Lidstone Land for free on 0800 0351 999.