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Vibration White Finger and HAVS Advice

17th May 2011
By Jessica Parker in Personal Injury
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Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is caused by prolonged use of hand-held power tools. Regular and frequent exposure to such vibrating equipment can cause symptoms such as “white finger” and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This article provides advice for employees who are concerned about working with powered hand tools, the actions they can take to protect themselves from over exposure and how to make vibration white finger claims should they wish to pursue compensation.
Symptoms of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome and Vibration White Finger

The term Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is used to cover a range of symptoms caused by the prolonged use of hand-powered equipment from palm sanders to demolition hammers. It is caused by a deadening of the nerves in the hands due to extensive exposure to the constant vibrations involved. It can also affect the blood vessels, muscles and joints of the hands, wrists and arms. The symptoms persist after such work has ended with feelings of normality taking longer and longer to return. HAVS can become permanently debilitating if the early symptoms are not recognised and action is not taken to reduce exposure. Initial symptoms of vibration white finger include tingling or numbness of the fingers, loss of feeling in the fingers and finger blanching. An individual may begin to experience these symptoms after only a few months of exposure or it could be after many years of working in such an environment.

The Effects of Vibration White Finger

A person suffering from vibration white finger will have a reduced ability to work safely and effectively. Often problems arise from not being able to grip tools safely, suffering from pain especially in cold weather, or being unable to work efficiently and accurately. An inability to work properly can lead to stress and lost earnings through time taken off work or not being able to work full time. Under such circumstances it may be worth considering vibration white finger claims as a way of easing the financial pressure.

Employee Protection from the Effects of Vibration

If you are concerned about any of the above symptoms then you should talk to your employer as soon as possible about the risks involved. Your employer has a legal duty under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations to minimise your exposure to these vibrations. Your exposure level is based on the force exerted by the machinery and how long you are using it; equipment manufacturers are required to state the tool’s Vibration Emission Level in m/s squared; how long the machine is used for is actual “Trigger Time” in hours.

If you have concerns about HAVS in your workplace then you should speak with your employer in order to find a solution and to check that your work environment and the equipment you use meets the Control of Vibration at work Regulations. You can also investigate this using the Government’s Hand-Arm Vibration exposure calculator -

Vibration White Finger Claims

If you suffer from any vibration related symptoms and it can be shown this was due to your working environment, you may be able to claim against your employer. Such a claim can help compensate you for any loss of earnings caused by an inability to carry out your job effectively or in severe cases, if you can no longer perform your duties at all.

If you're thinking about claiming compensation for vibration white finger, make sure you talk to a reputable personal injury specialist. They will be able to put you in touch with a local solicitor who is experienced in handling vibration white finger claims on a no win no fee basis, meaning that even if your case is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay anything at all. What’s more most solicitors will be able to guarantee that if your claim is successful, you keep every penny of your compensation, as their fees are paid by the other side.

Industrial Accident Helpline specialises in vibration white finger claims caused by over exposure to hand-held powered work equipment. The company works in partnership with National Accident Helpline to offer specialist advice for those suffering from vibration white finger.
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