If you have used vibrating tools or machinery in the workplace and have since been diagnosed with the industrial injury known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), you may be entitled to claim compensation for any pain, expenses, losses, and reduced quality of life you have sustained as a result.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, which is also known as Vibration White Finger, most commonly afflicts people who use machinery such as hammer drills, grinders, chainsaws, hedge trimmers, mowers and pneumatic drills for extended sessions, usually over a long period of time.
Symptoms begin to develop when exposure to the vibration of such machinery causes damage to the blood vessels, nerves, joints, and muscles of the body.
Most typically, symptoms are felt in the hands and fingers – however, contrary to misconceptions about the industrial injury, they are not confined only to hands and fingers, and can often affect the whole arm, or, sometimes, other parts of the body.
The following list details some of the symptoms most commonly experienced by sufferers of HAVS:
- Whitening of fingers and hands;
- Tingling sensations in affected areas;
- Localised numbness or coldness;
- General weakness in affected areas;
- Extreme sensitivity to cold, manifest in a worsening of symptoms; and
- Loss of dexterity.
For some symptoms may become so severe that performing simple everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces or doing up coat buttons becomes difficult or impossible. Furthermore, they may become so uncomfortable and incapacitating that sufferers become depressed, suffer chronic pain, or have trouble sleeping.
The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations
All employers have a duty to ensure that workers do not suffer exposure to excessive vibration. It is thought that as many as 50,000 UK workers may suffer excessive levels of exposure, most frequently in sectors such as construction, agriculture, forestry, mining, and shipbuilding.
As such, the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 place strong legal obligations on employers to provide protection in the form of protective equipment, regular breaks, risk assessments, and adequate training.
If these obligations are not upheld, affected workers may be entitled to claim compensation.
Seth Lovis & Co Personal injury solicitors
For clear advice regarding your rights and options following a Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome diagnosis, please call Seth Lovis & Co personal injury solicitors on 0370 218 4025.