Vibration white finger (VWF) is a very painful condition caused by the regular and extended use of industrial vibrating tools. When not restricted to the fingers, the condition may also be known as hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). If you are suffering from either you may be eligible to claim compensation.
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What is vibration white finger?
Vibration white finger is a repetitive strain injury affecting the nerves, tendons, blood vessels and joints of the forearm, wrist and hand. The effects can be long lasting and cause extreme pain. Symptoms can be so severe that someone suffering from VWF is left unable to properly use their hands, or perform delicate tasks that require close control or good dexterity. Whilst the symptoms can often be debilitating and leave workers unable to work, they can also be milder. In any event, the access to pursuing a claim for compensation remains available.
The most common symptoms affecting people suffering with vibration white finger or hand arm vibration syndrome are:
- Aches and pains in the lower arm and hands
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers. Usually in the tip but can also be from tip to base of finger. The tingling pain can become extremely painful.
- Whiteness of the finger starting at the tip spreading down to the palm of the hand.
- Intense redness to the tips of the finger.
- Loss of grip, sometimes with substantial loss of dexterity to the fingers making fine manual tasks difficult to complete, such as buttoning a shirt or opening a packet.
What tools cause VWF or HAVS?
The tools associated with causing vibration white finger are often used in heavy industry such as engineering, manufacturing plants and construction sites. Use of a pneumatic drill is one common example that leads to this type of injury.
Evidence shows that the weight or strength of a vibrating tool does not give any indication as to whether or not it will cause a VWF or HAVS industrial injury. Indeed, any size or speed of vibrating tool can cause damage to nerves by way of a repetitive strain injury if they are used or handled incorrectly.
Workers using such tools should take regular breaks or rotate between different jobs in order to avoid the overuse of vibratory equipment. As with all work injuries, if you’re getting hurt or feeling the symptoms of vibration white finger, you have a legal right to seek rest and removal of the cause.
Employer responsibilities to prevent vibration white finger
Employers tasking workers with the use of vibratory tools have a responsibility to ensure that they are provided with training and personal protective equipment to minimise risk of injury. Most take the well-being and safety of their staff very seriously, however, not all provide workers with the correct tools, training or support, and this can lead to a claim being made.
According to the Health & Safety Executive, employers ‘must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to hand-arm vibration so that they can protect their employees from risks to their health’.
Best practice indicates that where required, employers of staff using vibratory equipment must ensure that:
- Control measures to reduce vibration are properly applied
- They provide information, training and health surveillance
Employers must review the work and use of tools that employees are undertaking if anything changes that may affect exposure to vibration. Failure to take such action and provide protection to employees from the risk of injury is likely to be seen as employer negligence and could indicate that you have a strong prospect of succeeding with a claim for compensation.
How claiming compensation will help
Whether your vibration white finger symptoms have caused you to be unable to work and therefore lose income, or simply left you suffering from nagging ongoing discomfort, there are many benefits to successfully pursuing a claim for compensation.
If successful, your settlement will cover the pain and distress of the injury and include special damages to recover any lost wages, medical costs or expenses you have incurred. You may also be able to access specialist rehabilitation therapies to speed your recovery.
Vibration white finger compensation amounts
Claim values are assessed on the extent of symptoms and their impact, taking into account age, the number of fingers affected, the pain, impaired grip and dexterity, and the effect on work and home life. The figures quoted below are based on the Judicial College guidelines and accurate at the time of publication. Of course, people can also claim special damages on top of these sums if they have suffered a loss of income in the past or are unable to work in the future.
|Severity of injury||Compensation amount|
|Most serious - persisting bilateral symptoms in a younger person, with a major affect on work and daily life||£24,050 - £32,120|
|Serious VWF injury with impact on work and domestic activity||£12,750 - £26,460|
|Moderate, with some changes in working practice||£6,575 - £14,030|
|Minor, with occasional symptoms in only a few fingers||£2,275 - £7,230|
Start your claim
We know your rights and have expert trained staff on hand ready to answer any queries you may have regarding vibration white finger claims. We offer a simple and easy to understand process and will help you throughout the claim should you need assistance.
Direct2Compensation work with expert personal injury solicitors who will ensure that any settlement you receive is appropriate for the level of injury you have sustained, and we’ll also recover any loss of income and expenses that you have incurred as a result.
Our No Win No Fee service affords you the opportunity to pursue your claim safe in the knowledge that if for some reason, your claim does not succeed you will not have to pay any costs.
With Direct2Compensation, starting your claim for VWF compensation couldn’t be easier. You can call our friendly and helpful staff on 01225 430285 or get your claim started online today. We take pride in making sure that you feel understood and look forward to helping you make your claim.