Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Too much exposure to hand and arm vibration can cause Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS and also Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Initial symptoms will be mild with tingling just in the ends of fingers and can go unnoticed.   However, if correct preventative measures are not taken whilst using vibrating hand-held machinery then the condition may deteriorate and the symptoms increase to loss of sensation and sensitivity to cold.

What is hand arm vibration syndrome?

HAVS affects the nerves, blood vessels, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm and can become severely disabling, if ignored.  It includes vibration white finger which can cause severe pain in the effected fingers.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve disorder which may involve pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in parts of the hand, and can be caused by, among other things, exposure to vibration.

What Causes HAVS/ Vibration White Finger?

HAVS/VWF usually affects people who repeatedly work with vibrating machinery such as hammer drills, pneumatic drills, sanders, angle grinders, polishers, lawnmowers, tyre fitting equipment jigsaws and chainsaws.

Occupations which include the use of the following are most likely to be affected:

  • Forestry or Woodworking: Use of chain saws, brush cutters, hand-held or hand-fed circular saws
  • Metal Industry: Use of hand-held rotary tools or grinders or the use of hand-held percussive tools in connection with riveting, caulking, chipping, hammering, swaging or fettling. Alternatively, by holding materials whilst they are being ground or metal whilst it is being sanded or polished by rotary tools.
  • Shoe Manufactory: Holding material being worked upon by pounding machines
  • Road Construction: Use of hand-held powered percussive drills or hammers
  • Construction industry: Use of hand-held powered percussive drills or hammers
  • Mining Industry: Use of hand-held powered percussive drills or hammers
  • Quarrying: Use of hand-held powered percussive drills or hammers
  • Demolition: Use of hand-held powered percussive drills or hammers

What are the early signs to look for?

  • Tingling and numbness within the hands and fingers
  • Fingers can actually change colour and become white hence the “white finger” reference
  • Loss of feeling and often difficulty in picking up small things
  • Loss of movement within the hand and fingers

If you continue to use high vibration tools after the onset of any of these symptoms, in all probability the condition will get worse and the symptoms could become permanent, affecting more than one finger and more than one hand

If you do develop any of the above symptoms you should:

  • Seek medical advice
  • Report your condition to your employer

It is your employer’s duty to protect you against HAVS and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

If you believe the condition has developed as a result of the type of tools you use during the course of your employment you should contact one of our specialist work-place injury lawyers who will be happy to assist you and establish whether you have a claim to make and to ensure your recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to for the condition that you have developed. Please call our specialist team on 0333 323 1637 today, or drop us an email at enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk