Vibration white finger, officially known as hand-arm vibration syndrome, is an accident at work that affects those who work with power tools such as buffing machines which produce excessive amounts of vibration.
The symptoms of vibration white finger can be extremely painful. At first, they may manifest themselves as a tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers. Over a period of time, the symptoms gradually become more debilitating. The fingers become white and swollen when cold, hence the name vibration white finger, but become extremely painful and red when exposed to heat.
Vibration white finger can make a number of everyday tasks quite difficult, such as picking up small objects.
What is a buffing machine?
A buffing machine is auto-logical – it does exactly what you expect it to; it is used in a number of applications such as polishing a floor or a hand-held double-action rotary device used to improve the shine of paintwork on a vehicle.
Buffing machines use a rotating or vibrating head in order to polish or buff a surface and produce a significant amount of vibration. This can lead to vibration white finger.
What can you do to prevent vibration white finger?
It’s important to take frequent breaks away from your work in order to avoid the symptoms of vibration white finger. Use these periods to perform short stretching exercises which help to increase the blood circulation in the hands and fingers.
It is advisable to reduce exposure to cold temperatures as much as possible, as the cold can aggravate the symptoms of vibration white-finger.
Claiming compensation for vibration white finger
According to the the Health and Safety Executive, instances of vibration white finger have been on the decrease over the last decade. This is due in part to efforts by manufacturers to incorporate vibration-dampening technology into their products and also due to the efforts by trade unions, employee forums and health & safety groups to increase awareness of vibration white finger. That being said, it is still a major source of work-related injury claims and it’s important to know if you could be entitled to claim compensation.
Contact Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 for more information on how you could make a no-win no-fee* claim for work accident compensation.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice