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Home » Latest News » Why do people still get Vibration White Finger?

Why do people still get Vibration White Finger?

Why do people still get Vibration White Finger?

If employers fail to take appropriate measures and that results in an employee being diagnosed with VWF, the employee may be able to bring a vibration white finger claim for compensation.

There were over 7,000 new claims for IIDB (Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit) as a result of new cases of Vibration White Finger, also know as ‘Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome’, between 2008 and 2017. This was despite the fact that in 2005, the Control of Vibration Tools at Work Regulations came into force.


Once the regulations had been brought in, they placed a requirement on employers to identify measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome to employees caused by using vibrating work tools.


The Regulations define specific levels of vibration exposure. Above those levels, known as the EAV (exposure action values) and ELV (exposure limit value), the employer is required to take action to reduce or eliminate the risk to employees. These include;

 

  • Looking for alternative methods of working to eliminate or reduce risk of exposure to vibration.
  • Trying to automate the work
  • Making sure that the equipment chosen is suitable for the job, to ensure that the work can be completed as quickly as possible, thus reducing the time an employee is exposed to vibration.
  • Limiting the use of vibration tools where possible.
  • Replacing worn out tools as soon as possible.
  • Improving the design of workstations to reduce the loads on workers hands, wrists and arms.
  • Using devices such as jigs and suspension systems to reduce the need to grip the tool so tightly.
  • Limiting the time employees are exposed to vibration.
  • Introduce rotas to help reduce periods of exposure to vibration for individuals
  • Providing employees with protective clothing to keep them warm and improve blood circulation.

If employers fail to take appropriate measures and that results in an employee being diagnosed with VWF, the employee may be able to bring a vibration white finger claim for compensation against their employer.

In 2016 the BBC reported that Thanet Council in Kent had been fined £250,000 as a result of health and safety breaches that led to 12 workers developing vibration white finger. The workers involved were ground maintenance workers who used strimmer’s, mowers and other vibrating hand machinery on a daily basis.

What are the types of job that most often involve hand-arm vibration?

  • construction
  • maintenance of grounds, parks, water courses, road and rail side verges)
  • forestry
  • building and maintenance of roads and railways
  • mines and quarries
  • motor vehicle repair and manufacture
  • public utilities - water, gas, electricity, telecoms
  • shipbuilding and repair
  • foundries
  • heavy engineering

Until the year 1976 employers were not deemed to have any knowledge of the risk that vibrating tools posed to employees, therefore, injuries caused by exposure to excessive exposure before that date will not be successful. If exposure occurred after 1976, a claim for VWF/HAVS may have reasonable prospects of success. The Vibration White Finger/HAVS experts at Bridge McFarland LLP will be able to advise you on this point if it is relevant to your potential claim.


If you have been diagnosed with the conditions discussed in this article then please feel free to get in touch with our legal team to discuss whether or not you might be able to make a claim for compensation. There are No Win, No Fee funding options available based on merit and all initial appointments are no-obligation. Call the team on 01482 320 620 or email at info@bmcf.co.uk