Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome – Claim Compensation for HAVS or VWF
Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome (or HAVS) is an umbrella term for conditions that affects the fingers, hands and sometimes, arms of workers who use hand-held power tools and machines. Included within the HAVS’s vernacular is Vibration White Finger (VWF) and secondary Raynaud’s Syndrome. Fortunately, hand-arm vibration syndrome is on the decline in the UK, with only 180 new claims in 2018, but for those unfortunate enough to contract it and the thousands already afflicted, their quality of life will suffer.
As with most industrial diseases, hand-arm vibration syndrome has clear links to negligent workplace practices – people don’t spend an awful amount of time with power tools at home. So, if you have contracted and are suffering from the symptoms of HAVS, Vibration White Finger or secondary Raynaud’s, speak to our team of workplace compensation specialists. We’ll give you a free claim assessment and place you with our panel solicitor best suited to deal with your case, we can even provide the service on a no win, no fee* basis – call today on 08082391859.
What are the symptoms of Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome and what does it do to the body?
The vast majority of components making up the fingers, hands and forearms are affected – this includes blood vessels, nerves and muscles, all of which form a complex system of articulation that enable the high levels of dexterity we humans make use of.
Vibration White Finger gets its trademark name from the whiteness clearly visible in the fingers and thumbs of those afflicted. The reduction in blood flow from spasming muscles surrounding arteries cuts off oxygen, changing the colour of the fingers. It is often accompanied by a tingling sensation, numbness or even a coldness. Blood will later reflow to the affected fingers, turning a vivid red colour which then produces a throbbing sensation. Sometimes the fingers with turn bluish before going red.
Episodes of HAVS or VWF can last from minutes to hours and can be painful throughout this time. They are typically brought on by the cold but can also result from distress. HAVS can affect the tips as well as the whole of fingers, and in a few cases, has resulted in amputations.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome can also reduce the overall dexterity and grip strength of the hands. This could result in further personal injury if, say, wielding a knife for cooking at home. Our workplace injury solicitors will factor in quality of life into your claim, as a lack of grip strength and finger articulation can prevent your access to many forms of leisure activities and work tasks.
What are the main causes of HAVS & Vibration White Finger?
Unlike some of factors contributing to Reynaud’s Syndrome, which can be genetic or caused by another disorder, HAVS or VWF can be mostly attributed machinery or tools vibrating at low frequency, between 8 and 300 Hz, on a regular or extended basis. However, working in cold temperatures, like in freezers or outside in harsh conditions, can contribute to Secondary Reynaud’s Syndrome and exacerbate Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome.
Some of the more common machinery and tools causing Vibration White Finger/HAVS are:
- Hammer drills
- Hedge trimmers and power mowers
- Concrete breakers
- Mining equipment, like rock cutters
- Grinding tools
What industries have workers that are most likely to develop Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?
A lot of the aforementioned equipment is found in more industrial workplaces but isn’t limited to them. Fabrication and demolition of heavy/large goods or objects at work will require these tools usually in some capacity. The most affected industries are:
Whatever industry you’ve worked in, if you’re suffering from Vibration White Finger of Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome, speak to our team. Our work injury lawyers will help build a case of negligence against your employer, even if has taken a couple of years for symptoms to develop.
What can be done to reduce or prevent work-related disease in the form of HAVS/VWF?
A lot of research has gone into the measurement and analysis of how exactly the tools can result in industrial injury. The risks from vibrating equipment has had a similar focus to that of industrial hearing loss, where certain amplitudes and frequencies for varying periods of time can cause deafness. In terms of Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome, the strength, which can be from acceleration or amplitude of tools, and the duration are the deciding factors of how long workers can endure vibrating machinery. A low power tool used for several hours can be as hazardous as a heavy tool used for only a few minutes.
There are regulations in place, such as the Control of Vibration at Work 2005, to help mitigate HAVS. So as with a lot of workplace diseases and hazards resulting in accidents, education is key. Training staff to understand the risks in play from vibrating tools and machines and how to mitigate them will help to prevent HAVS and Vibration White Finger. Also knowing what frequency tools operate at and what the guidelines say in terms of trigger time, or duration of tool usage, will help plan employee worktime and allow for frequent breaks. There are only certain lengths of time that are reasonable to perform work with power tools before placing workers at risk.
More methods of reducing vibration exposure are in PPE and the actual quality of tools used. Anti-vibration gloves can and should be used, but again, employers need to know what frequency equipment operates at for them to be most effective, as not all gloves will work at the right frequency, potentially rendering them useless. Innovations in tool manufacture could help to reduce the effect of vibration to the user, such as with suspension mechanisms. It also helps to make sure existing tools are well maintained, as the recoil from them could get worse of over time if not looked after.
If your employer hasn’t done the due diligence in learning this information to mitigate the hazard, made workers perform duties longer than regulations allow, or hasn’t supplied functional protective equipment speak to our team on 08082391859 to evaluate your case for workers compensation.
What should you do if you’ve been diagnosed with Hand-arm Vibration or Secondary Raynaud’s Syndrome from work?
There are medications or even surgical procedures that can help people suffering from Raynaud’s Syndrome. But your medical professional will be best suited to help there. Stopping smoking and regular exercise, along with the other myriad of benefits that come with them, help regulate blood flow and reduce the effect of Vibration White Finger.
In terms of seeking to claim compensation, make sure to have your workplace record the condition, so that they can evaluate their practices and accommodate your condition. Keeping a record of the regularity of the episodes and severity, as well as how it has affected your day-to-day life, together with the initial medical report will help us get an accurate guide as to the amount of compensation you should be awarded. The damages can vary depending on the extent of the Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome too.
Speak to our team of workplace compensation experts today to get the best idea of if and how much you could receive for your condition. We’re available 24/7 on 08082391859.
Am I likely to have a case to claim compensation for Vibration White Finger or Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome?
It is quite likely that workplace conditions, pressures or practices have resulted in the development of the problem, rather than a self-afflicted injury. Even with proper training tight deadlines, production quotas or poor management could mean you’re made to work for periods longer than regulations allow. But this isn’t the deciding factor in a successful case. If you’re at all unsure about the circumstances in play, speak to our team at your earliest convenience for expert advice and guidance.
What advantages do I have if I claim work-related HAVS compensation with Friends Legal?
- We have a team of technical qualifiers who can assess your claim for free. If they feel you have a case, we bring your claim to one of our panel solicitors – that way you don’t run up any legal fees by just asking questions.
- Our telephony team is open 24hrs a day, but you can leave them a message with our contact form, and they’ll get back to you within a few working days.
- Our panel of workplace illness solicitors can work on a no win, no fee* basis, meaning again, you’re not drumming up expensive legal fees by claiming for your ill health.
- Our team covers the whole of the UK, and you’ll be assigned to a panel solicitor depending on if you’re in England and Wales, or Scotland.
- We have a UK call centre, based in Manchester, and come from all walks of life.
- We have helped thousands of sick employees claim compensation.
- We fight for the maximum compensation for your occupational illness, because ultimately your job is to make the company successful and they should at least ensure your health and well-being in exchange.
- When we calculate your claim amount, we factor in loss of earnings, general expenses and any ongoing costs incurred by your condition, so that you get the highest level of compensation due to you.
- We’re friendly, empathetic and here to help you however we can.
Get in touch with our solicitors** today to find if and how much compensation you could claim for work-related HAVS or VWF.
If you’re suffering from an Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or Vibration White Finger because of your workplace, and your employer is at fault, get in touch today. Call our helpline on 08082391859 to start your claim – we’re here to help.