What is HAVS?
HAVS, or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, is a condition that develops from suing vibrating hand tools over a number of years. The vibration from the tool causes damage to the blood vessels in the hand, restricting the blood flow to the hand. HAVS is also known as White Finger, because the restricted blood flow causes the fingers to turn white.
HAVS is a very serious condition. The symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, with the victim suffering from acute pain in their fingers or hand when it is exposed to even mildly low temperatures. A person suffering from HAVS can find that their hand grip loosens and that their fine motor skills decline. Because this syndrome is common in trades using these tools such as carpentry, the loss of grip and motor function can be a double hit as the sufferer can no longer hold screws or use screwdrivers, leaving them often unable to work at their trade.
If I am suffering from HAVS, can I make a claim for compensation?
Unfortunately, although this is a well known condition in certain trades, some employers don’t fulfil their duty to protect their employees from the hazards of vibrating hand tools. If your employer has been negligent in their duty to look after your health and safety while you are at work, then yes, you are entitled to claim for compensation.
Your employer is obliged to make sure that any equipment you use is well maintained and fitted with vibration reduction measures wherever possible. They have a duty to make sure that you are fully trained in using your equipment and the risks of incorrect use. Your employer should make sure that you are taking frequent breaks from using the equipment and they have a duty to monitor the amount of time you spend using the equipment. If you feel that any part of this has not been fulfilled, you should call us.
So what happens next?
Give us a call on our 24 hour helpline. We will give you free advice on your options and help you to decide what is best for you and your own situation. If you decide that you want to claim for compensation, we can offer you support and guidance throughout the whole process. We strive to make your claim as stress-free as possible for you, so we conduct your whole claim, if we can, over the telephone with no paperwork to fill out.
Once we have discussed your options with you and understood your condition, we match you to a solicitor who has expertise in HAVS claims and industrial injuries. Your solicitor will gather all of the evidence needed to value and claim for your compensation. Your solicitor may ask you to attend a local medical assessment so as they can understand the extent and impact of your symptoms and calculate your compensation. Everything your solicitor does is on a no win no fee basis and is therefore no risk to you – you have nothing to lose.
Date Published: 10th September 2012
Author: David Brown