According to the latest HSE figures, in 2019 there were 205 new cases of hand-arm vibration syndrome in 2019, up from 180 cases in the previous year. New cases had been declining since 2015 when 635 cases were reported to the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).
The use of hand-held vibrating power tools is common in many industries, particularly construction and manufacturing. Persistent and excessive use of such equipment, however, can lead to a range of painful medical conditions affecting the hands, wrists and fingers. This includes vibration white finger (VWF), otherwise known as hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) which causes severe pain in the fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a nerve disorder affecting the hand and whole-body vibration (WBV).
What is hand arm vibration syndrome?
Hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is a serious and disabling condition which comes from the use of hand-held vibrating power tools.
Until recently hand arm vibration syndrome was known as vibration white finger or VWF, this was until medical professionals realised there were far more symptoms associated with this injury than just having white fingers.
What are the symptoms of a vibration injury?
Some of the common warning signs of developing HAVS or VWF are as follows:
- Loss of strength in hands and arm
- Loss of dexterity - loss of the ability to grasp small objects, tie shoe laces fasten buttons etc.
- Tingling, numbness or pain in the hands arm or fingers
- Continuous swelling or throbbing of the fingers
- Whiteness or redness of the skin or fingers
- Poor blood flow in fingers even when stimulated
Who is at risk of a vibration injury?
If you work with hand-held vibrating power tools for extended periods of time as part of your job, you would be classed as ‘at risk’.
What are my employer’s responsibilities?
Your employer has a duty of care to ensure you are provided with the appropriate training and safety equipment to fulfil your daily tasks safely. In addition they are also responsible for ensuring you are not overexposed to the use of these power tools which could cause injury.
If you believe that you have developed an industrial illness such as HAVS as a direct result of your working environment then contact us on 0161 696 6235 to speak to an expert about your claim. Our solicitors are experts in dealing with a wide range of industrial disease and accident at work compensation claims including vibration injury claims and can help you get the compensation deserve.