Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) Can I claim compensation?


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By Oliviah Rix-Taylor

on Thursday 9 August 2018


power tools

Compensation for HAVS / VWF

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (also known as HAVS or vibration white finger) is the medical term for symptoms caused by vibration damages that may occur in the fingers, hands, and arms when working with vibrating tools or machinery. HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is usually permanent.

Vibration White Finger (VWF) is also known as Hand Arm vibration syndrome, and is a secondary form of Raynaud’s syndrome, which is a common industrial injury triggered by regular use of vibrating hand held machinery.

Raynaud’s syndrome is a medical condition in which spasms of the arteries cause restricted blood flow, typically in fingers.

If you have regularly used vibrating hand-operated tools in the course of your work, you may be able to make a claim.

 

Regular use of the following machinery commonly gives rise to a personal injury claim for Hand Arm Vibration syndrome or Vibration White Finger:

  • Concrete breakers, concrete pokers,

  • Sanders, grinders, disc cutters

  • Hammer drills, chainsaws, hedge trimmers

  • Powered mowers

  • Chipping hammers

  • Scrabblers or Needle guns

You are also at risk if you hold workpieces, which vibrate while being processed by powered machinery, such as pedestal grinders.

You are particularly at risk if you regularly operate:

  • Hammer action tools- more than 15 minutes per day

  • Or some rotary and other action tools- more than 1 hour per day

  • Floor polishing and scrubbing equipment

However, workers who are not commonly thought of being at risk of HAVS may still make a claim. Call us today to find out if you have a claim.

 

Symptoms of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome can include:

  • Tingling and numbness in the fingers (which can cause sleep disturbance)

  • Not being able to feel things with your fingers

  • Loss of strength in the hands (may be less able to pick up or hold heavy objects)

  • Tips of fingers turn white, then red, in cold and wet weather and are painful on recovery (this is known as Vibration White Finger)

  • A white or intense red colour in the fingers

 

Treatment of HAVS and VWF

If you think that you are suffering from Hand arm vibration syndrome, you should make an appointment with your doctor, who will be able to advise you on the treatment options available to you. Your ‘No Win No Fee’ Solicitor may also be able to arrange treatment that could help your condition.

HAVS progresses gradually over time, and symptoms will worsen with continued use of vibrating tools and machinery. However, once you have stopped working with the tools or machinery that is responsible, symptoms of HAVS or VWF do not usually get worse. If you work in a job where workers are at risk of developing HAVS, your employer is required by law to reduce the risks relating to vibrating tools.

 

How much compensation will I have?

The amount of compensation is based on a number of factors, such as the severity of the condition (how bad it is), quality of life, if it has affected your ability to work, and the likely development of future symptoms (is it going to get worse). You can also claim for the impact the symptoms have had on your life (and are likely to have in future). Compensation payments are split into two categories;

  • General Damages- which are pain, suffering, emotional distress, lower quality of life, and difficulty in finding another job

  • Special damages- which are to compensate you for out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical expenses, lost earnings (and future lost earnings), travelling costs and damaged property.

Your Solicitor will send you to an independent medical expert to produce a report to support your claim. This will help to assess the likely amount you would receive in compensation.

Our ‘No Win No Fee’ Solicitors are highly experienced in this type of claim, and are experts in obtaining the best possible outcome for you. Here are the guidline payout amounts

Severity Compensation
Minor£2,390 to £6,890
Moderate£6,890 to £13,360
Serious£13,360 to £25,220
Most Serious£25,220 to £30,630

Making a claim

You can claim for Hand arm vibration syndrome caused by your employment, as all employers have a legal duty to ensure the safety and well-being of employees.

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 placed a legal duty on employers to minimize the risks associated with hand operated vibration tools and machinery.

Employers should produce a hand arm vibration risk assessment, and should take steps to reduce the risk of employees developing Hand Arm vibration syndrome (set out in the Health & Safety Executive HSE), such as:

  • Making sure that employees have regular breaks from operating vibrating tools
  • Supplying the right safety equipment, including anti-vibration gloves (HAVS gloves)
  • That a reasonable temperature is maintained in the workplace
  • Initial and regular training for employees
  • Providing the right tools for the task

If an employer is found to have breached the Regulations, they may be held liable (at fault) in a hand arm vibration syndrome claim. Take a look at here for an example of a company being found liable, for not protecting employees from the risk of hand arm vibration syndrome.

 

Will I have to pay anything?

No- our ‘No Win No Fee’ Solicitors can act for you under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a legal funding arrangement meaning that your fees are only payable in the event of a successful claim.

The Solicitor is then entitled to a success fee out of your payment (usually 25%). So you can be safe in the knowledge that your claim will cost you nothing at the outset, there are no hidden costs, and you don’t have to pay legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful.

Give us a call to discuss your claim for compensation today.

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