In addition to the blanching of fingers, tingling or numbing, and loss of sensation and dexterity, severe vibration white finger can also cause finger swelling and throbbing pain. These painful symptoms are caused by the vibration inflicted damage to nerves, tiny blood vessels and muscles in the affected person’s hand and fingers.
About the condition
This upper limb disorder is a vibration-related repetitive strain injury, forming part of a group of conditions covered by the term hand arm vibration syndrome, or HAVS. HAVS conditions are occupational illnesses caused by continued exposure to vibrations, commonly caused by hand-held tools and various types of machinery.
Legally responsible for the safety and health of employees, employers must take all necessary steps to prevent accidents at work and to minimise the risk of workers developing work related illnesses. This includes ensuring workers are not exposed to excessive vibration levels for prolonged periods of time.
Employers must assess the potential risk of work injury by calculating the vibration levels and exposure durations that are likely to cause vibration induced repetitive stress injuries. Employees should then be informed of any potential risks.
The employer is responsible for taking appropriate measures to minimise the risk of workers sustaining vibration white finger, by:
- Purchasing low vibration tools or machinery where possible
- Providing personal protective equipment, such as vibration-absorbing protective pads or gloves
- Reducing exposure durations by rotating workers using the equipment in question more frequently
- Introducing more frequent recovery breaks; ideally, workers operating tools or machinery with high vibration levels should be permitted to take a ten minute break, after every hour they have used the equipment
Workers at risk of developing an industrial illness should also be given health screens at regular intervals in order to detect any early signs of onset.
Dealing with affliction
Employees diagnosed with vibration white finger should be given sufficient time for the damage to be repaired. This may involve time off work to rest and any necessary treatments.
Workers may also have to be given alternative jobs to prevent the condition from getting worse. Alternative work within the company or another employer may be needed in the case of late detection of the condition, usually when it has reached the stage where symptoms cannot be reversed.
Right to claim
If you developed vibration white finger or suffered any other injury by work accident, you may qualify for work injury compensation.
Talking about your condition with one of our advisers via Accident Advice Helpline’s 24-hour Freephone advice line will help you determine whether or not you are eligible to claim. It also presents you with the opportunity to enlist the help of one of our law firm’s specialist lawyers, who is experienced in handling claims just like yours.
Give us a call today on 0800 689 0500 to find out more.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice