Vibration white finger is also known as dead finger or hand-arm vibration syndrome, or HAVS. It is a secondary type of Raynaud’s syndrome, which is a work injury that is caused by continually using hand-held vibrating machinery. A widespread industrial disease, vibration white finger affects the muscles, nerves and joints, connective tissue and blood vessels of the affected person’s hands, wrists and arms. It affects workers in their tens of thousands.
Symptoms of vibration white finger
The symptoms of this industrial injury include, in typical progressive order:
- Numbness and tingling in one or more fingers
- One finger temporarily turning white, starting to ache
- Finger turning white more frequently and for longer periods
- Other fingers start turning white/ aching
- Increasingly frequent, often very painful attacks
- Inability to hold on to things, often initially disregarded as clumsiness
- Manual dexterity is lost
Once several fingers have begun to turn white, this work-related condition is often irreversible. In some cases, especially if workers were using vibrating machinery in extremely cold temperatures, fingers may be lost.
Who is at risk of this industrial injury?
The workers most likely to develop vibration white finger include those who regularly use a selection of hand-held power tools, such as, for example:
- Angle grinders
- Chipping hammers
- Concrete breakers
- Hammer drills
- Vibrating pokers
- Vibratory compactors
Employers responsibility to prevent accidents at work
Employers are required by law to ensure workers are not put at risk in any way while at work. Their responsibility includes providing adequate break times between periods of using such equipment. Where continual use of such machinery is required, companies are required to provide regular health checks for workers to ensure they are not at risk of developing this work-related injury. If the employer fails to do this, and workers subsequently develop vibration white finger, they may be entitled to claim for compensation.
Claiming vibration white finger compensation
If you were diagnosed with vibration white finger within the last 36 months, you may be eligible to claim compensation from your employer. Calling the friendly advisers of Accident Advice Helpline will help to determine whether or not you qualify for a claim and what your chances of success are.
The free-phone number is available 24/7 on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone. All calls are confidential and initial advice is free. If a claim is initiated, a legal professional with suitable experience in dealing with cases of industrial disease claims will be assigned to you on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and ensure you receive your compensation as quickly as possible.
Date Published: October 28, 2013
Author: David Brown