A UK construction company has been hit with a AUS$76,000 fine after an employee was permanently injured as a result of his work.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that the worker developed bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome due to the nature of his work and the failure of the employer to adhere to OHS practices.

Due to the employer’s negligence, the worker was not adequately protected from the prolonged effects of handling vibrating power tools on a daily basis. As a result of extensive, heavy-duty work such as breaking floors and foundations, the worker suffered permanent nerve damage.

Additionally, the HSE revealed that the company, based in East Sussex, failed to protect its workers from numerous other hazards. For instance, it allowed unsafe work at height and didn’t provide sufficient support for the sides of a deep excavation.

These claims were corroborated by photographic evidence taken by the employee.

HSE Inspector Amanda Huff explained that the worker’s injury could have been prevented if proper OHS standards were in place.

“Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful and debilitating condition that [the employee] need not have developed had his health and his use of vibrating tools been properly monitored and controlled,” she said in an October 28 media release.

“The onus is on employers to fully consider the risks arising from prolonged use of equipment like hand held breakers, and to ensure their workforce is adequately protected.”

As a result of his employer’s negligence, the employee will now face “a lifetime of discomfort”, Ms Huff added.

With the hazardous equipment and environments involved with construction work, comprehensive construction safety training is a must for both employers and employees in this industry.

Investing in such courses will ensure that unfortunate cases such as these can be avoided.

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