Vibration white finger is one of a range of similar occupational conditions commonly referred to under the single term hand-arm vibration syndrome, or HAVS. It is typically the result of exposure to excessive levels of vibration over extended periods of time.
Causes of vibration white finger
In most cases, vibration white finger develops after prolonged use or working machinery or hand-held tools that invariably vibrate as a result of their function, such as grinders, drills, sanders, and so on.
Sometimes, poorly maintained tools or machinery develop faults that cause them to vibrate excessively. Either way, workers using them could eventually develop this repetitive stress injury.
Accidents at work causing intense force to be applied directly to an employee’s hand can also be responsible for this upper limb disorder.
Your employer is legally responsible for your health and safety. This responsibility means he has a duty of care towards you. In other words, he has to take the necessary steps to protect you against the risk of developing an occupational illness or sustaining an injury at work. For example, such steps can include, but are not limited to:
- Ensuring machinery and tools are well maintained and in proper working order
- Informing you of the risks involved in working with vibrating machinery or tools
- Providing you with protective pads or gloves that are designed specifically to absorb vibration
- Introducing low-vibration machinery or tools
An employer should also ensure your health is screened on a regular basis so early signs of vibration white finger can be detected and relevant remedial measures can be taken in time to prevent the work-related condition from worsening or becoming permanent.
Failed duty of care
Should your industrial illness be the result of a workplace accident, or continued exposure to vibrating tools or machinery, because your employer did not take the required steps to protect you, he has failed his legal duty of care and can be held responsible for your work-induced condition.
If a new piece of machinery or a tool developed a fault and you were subsequently subjected to excessive vibration, the manufacturer or supplier of this equipment could also be held responsible.
Clarifying who is to blame
Should you be unsure who is actually responsible for your occupational disease, contact Accident Advice Helpline. Our advisers and nationwide legal team have the necessary, extensive experience, garnered over a 15 year period, to determine who is responsible for your vibration white finger case.
Call us today on 0800 689 0500 for more information regarding your work-related ailment.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice