Industrial Disease Claims and Vibratory Tools

When you have been working with heavy machinery or tools for many years in your occupation, you may develop vibration white finger or hand arm vibration syndrome. If your employer didn’t put in the correct measure to protect you from harm, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation against them. Industrial disease claims can be beneficial in helping those who have suffered get the compensation that they deserve. 

What is vibration white finger syndrome? 

Vibration white finger syndrome is a permanent condition which is caused by working with high power vibratory tools. The continuous use of vibratory tools can cause damage to the nerves, bloods vessels and joints of your arms, wrists and hands. Vibration white finger syndrome symptoms can cause severe pain and discomfort. Other common vibration white finger symptoms include: 

  • Loss of strength and dexterity 
  • Blanching or whiteness from the top of the fingers spreading to both sides of the hand 
  • Tingling, numbness and pain in the hands and fingers 
  • Throbbing and swelling of the fingers 

If you are suffering from vibration white finger you might notice that your symptoms get worse in cold weather and that you struggle to pick up small objects. 

You will also likely notice that pain and discomfort is not constant. Often symptoms present themselves during flare-ups, which usually last between 2 and 30 minutes. How long and how severe your symptoms are will depend on the nerve damage you have suffered. 

Tools and machinery that are most likely to cause VWF include: 

  • Jackhammers 
  • Concrete breakers and concrete pokers 
  • Chainsaws and jigsaws 
  • Powered sanders such as DA sanders and angle grinders 
  • Powered lawn mowers, strimmers or hedge trimmers 
  •  Polishers 
  • Hammer drills and pneumatic drills 
  • Brush cutters 

Vibration white finger claims are common amongst individuals who have used any of these tools for an extended period of time. 

What is hand arm vibration syndrome? 

Hand arm vibration syndrome is a condition that is caused by frequent use of vibratory tools at work. It is a debilitating and permanent condition which can interrupt your personal life as well as your work life. 

Depending on the severity, it may leave you unable to carry out everyday tasks. In more severe circumstances it may even stop you from being able to continue in your current job role. There are a few hand arm vibration syndrome symptoms that you should look out for, including: 

  • Pain in your hands, fingers and arms 
  • Swelling and throbbing in your fingers 
  • Numbness, tingling and pain in your fingers, hands and arms 
  • Lack of strength and grip in your hands 

Your employer’s responsibility 

It is always your employer’s responsibility to provide you with functional protective equipment such as gloves. They should also provide you with plenty of breaks so your exposure to vibration is limited. If you have been given appropriate protection, then your employer is also responsible for maintaining their appropriate standard. 

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