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Vibration White Finger

Exposure to vibration at work can lead to health issues.  If your employer has not taken necessary precautions and you develop Vibration White Finger, you could claim compensation.

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Vibration White Finger

Vibration White Finger (VWF) or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a secondary form of Raynaud’s syndrome, an industrial injury caused by continuous use of vibrating hand-held machinery and equipment. It can be caused by almost any form of hand-held machinery and has affected thousands of workers in the UK. It is preventable, but once any damage is done, it is permanent.

The symptoms of Vibration White Finger include:

  • Tingling and numbness in the fingers;
  • Loss or alteration of sensation in the fingers and hands
  • Reduced strength and dexterity in the hands;
  • Fingers going white (blanching) and becoming red and painful on recovery 

The condition can range in severity from relatively mild effects to pain, discomfort and loss of sensation which make some day-to-day tasks difficult or impossible.  Social activities and pastimes can be affected, as can the capacity for some types of work.

Prevention and Negligence

In the UK, the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 govern exposure to vibration and assists with preventing HAVS occurring, as part of wider health and safety legislation.

Your employer’s health and safety management team should employ good practice in monitoring their employees’ exposure to vibration, in terms of amplitude and duration.  Even tools that only vibrate slightly can be harmful if a worker is exposed to the vibration for a prolonged period.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guidance for workers and employers on hand and arm vibration.   Some employers will provide anti-vibration gloves for using particular tools where this is deemed necessary.

If your employer has failed to comply with the regulations governing vibration at work, and you have suffered from Vibration White Finger as a result, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.  In the first instance, any claim would be submitted to your employer’s liability insurer to investigate whether there has been any breach of duty.

Typical awards in VWF / HAVS cases:

The awards brackets shown* relate to the ‘general damages’ (this means the award for the injury and associated pain, suffering and loss of amenity). There are two elements to any award in a successful accident at work compensation claim: ‘general damages’ and ‘special damages’ (expenses and other material losses arising from the injuries).  

Minor – occasional modest effect on work and leisure

£2,620 to £7,580

Moderate – including middle-aged claimants where employment has been maintained or varied only to remove excess vibration. Attacks will occur mostly in cold weather.

£7,580 to £14,690

Serious – a marked interference on work, domestic and leisure activity throughout the year

£14,690 to £27,740

Most Serious – Persisting symptoms in a younger person which significantly impede daily life and lead to a change in employment.

£27,740 to £33,700

*Based on the 14th edition of the Judicial College guidelines

Depending on the severity of the condition, losses and expenses for sufferers of Vibration White Finger can typically include:

  • Loss of Earnings and loss of future earnings
  • The cost of care and assistance provided by loved ones
  • The cost of travel to and from medical appointments
  • The cost of medical prescriptions
  • The cost of physiotherapy or other rehabilitation

Call us today on 0808 256 5184 or contact us online to see if you could be entitled to make a claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.