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Birkenhead gardener wins compensation from council

Posted in: Employer Negligence Industrial Deafness and Disease Workplace Injuries 

A 55-year-old gardener from Birkenhead has been awarded £10,000 in compensation for an injury sustained whilst working for Wirral Borough Council.  Gary Knight had been working for 33 years for the council when he developed a condition known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), after excessive use of vibrating tools.  The condition will be permanent, and Mr Knight has stated that he fears that it will get worse over time.  Mr Knight had been using vibrating tools, such as strimmers and lawn mowers, almost every day in his job and had never been warned by his employer of the risk of developing HAVS.  He had been experiencing numbness and tingling for several years and also found that his dexterity was deteriorating.  He was eventually diagnosed with the condition in 2012.  When he was diagnosed, his employer advised him to restrict his use of vibrating tools.

Known since 1975 that vibration can cause injury

Mr Knight decided to contact his trade union who appointed their solicitors to claim for compensation. His union pointed out that it had been known since 1975 that excessive exposure to vibration can lead to industrial injury. They claimed that it was the responsibility of employers to ensure that policies and procedures were in place to protect employees.

Mr Knight’s solicitor stated: “the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations are clear about what employers must do to prevent this type of condition.  The council should have taken action long before this employee was allowed to develop a long term problem with his hands”.

Wirral Council accepted liability, and settled out of court.

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