Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is also known as White Finger. The name was changed to reflect the developing symptoms as opposed to the fingers changing colour.
The condition usually only affects workers that have been using tools and heavy machinery that vibrates for approximately 10 years or more. That said, anyone is potentially vulnerable to a hand Arm vibration injury if they use vibrating tools regardless of how long they have been using them for.
Not to be confused with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is the passing of vibration from power tools and machinery into the hands and arms, possibly causing long-term damage to the nerves and blood vessels.
Symptoms of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
- Tingling and numbness in the fingers and hands
- Discomfort and pain in the hands, wrist and forearms.
- Fingers turn white and feel cold
- Lack of strength in affected hands
- Difficulty in carrying out daily tasks such as doing up buttons and laces, handling money, and writing.
HAVS symptoms may start in colder months and especially on wet and windy days. If continued and overuse of vibrating machinery is used HAVS symptoms may become permanent and in some cases develop years after you have stopped working.
Equipment that can lead to HAVS
- Hammer guns
- Impact/Pneumatic Drills
- Sanders, Disc Cutters, Wood Cutters
- Polishers and Sanders
There are some simple things you can do to prevent developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
- Ensure machinery and tools are used correctly and you have been given the relevant and necessary training to use them.
- Make sure tools are well maintained and fit for purpose. If they are not make employers aware immediately.
- Ensure regular breaks are taken to avoid long periods of exposure to vibration.
- Vary the position tools are held at as much as possible and hold them as loosely as possible whilst still using them correctly.
- Use the right tools and machinery for the job in hand.
- Correctly store tools after use.
- Make sure the correct clothing is provided. Hands must be kept warm in cold weather.
Developing HAVS without using power tools or vibrating machinery
In some circumstances Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome can develop without using power tools or vibrating machinery. Women are statistically more likely to develop than men. Some evidence suggests that certain medication and conditions can lead to the development of HAVS:
- Medications such as Beta Blockers (used to treat heart disease and high blood pressure)
- Contraceptive pill, HRT and decongestants.
- Certain Cancer drugs
- Some medication for migraines
- Smoking as this can decrease blood flow
- Stress and anxiety
Compensation For Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
All employers in the UK have a duty of care to their employees and must adhere to The Control of Vibration at Work regulations 2005 in the workplace.
You may feel that your employer has not complied with the regulations and provided a safe and satisfactory working environment which has led to you developing an injury . If this is the case you may be entitled to make a work injury claim against your employer.
If you feel you have a claim for compensation Accident Claims Assistance has experienced injury solicitors ready to answer any questions you may have. We will assess your situation and give you an immediate answer as to whether or not we would be able to pursue a claim on your behalf.
We deal with all personal injury claims on a ‘no win no fee’ basis so making a claim won’t cost you a penny and is completely risk free.
Please contact us today to speak directly to one of our specialist personal injury solicitors.