Hand–arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), also known as vibration white finger (VWF) causes pain and numbness of the hands and fingers that are exposed to vibration from the use of vibrating tools.
At Browell Smith & Co, our legal experts have successfully pursued thousands of HAVS claims, for clients who have suffered or are suffering from HAVS caused by their employment.
Workers affected by HAVS commonly report:
• attacks of whitening (blanching) of one or more fingers when exposed to cold
• tingling and loss of sensation in the fingers
• pain and cold sensations between periodic white finger attack
• loss of grip strength
The symptoms of HAVS are aggravated by smoking and when the hands are exposed to cold.
You are at risk if you regularly use hand-held pneumatic or electric tools and machines such as:
• Concrete breakers, concrete pokers;
• Sanders, grinders, disc cutters;
• Hammer drills;
• Chipping hammers;
• Chainsaws, brush cutters, hedge trimmers,
• Powered mowers;
• Scabblers or needle guns
Hand–arm vibration syndrome has been classified as an industrial disease since 1985. This means that those who suffer may be able to claim compensation from the Department for Work and Pensions.
The harmful health effects of vibrating tools are related to the length of time that a worker has been using vibrating tools and to the frequency of the vibration. The longer a person uses a vibrating tool, and the faster the tool vibrates, the greater the risk of health effects.
It is usually accepted however that if a person begins to develop HAVS symptoms more than 18 months to two years after their last exposure to vibratory tools, then the symptoms may not be related to HAVS.
If you feel you are suffering from HAVS symptoms and you have worked or still work with vibrating tools or machinery, we would advise you to speak to your GP or a medical specialist immediately.
If you feel that you may have a claim for HAVS you would meet with one of our specialist HAVS personal injury lawyers in order to discuss your claim further.
Please contact a member of our specialist team at Browell Smith & Co to see if we can assist you.
As with all claims for personal injury compensation there are time limits within which a claim must be lodged with the Court.
For accident claims, court proceedings must be started within three years from the date of your accident.
For occupational disease cases Court proceedings must be started within three years from the date when you first had reasonable grounds to believe that you may be suffering from a condition which has been caused by a third party. This may be your employer or it could be another organisation with whom you worked or who operated a premises close by.
In the event that court proceedings are not started within three years from the relevant date, the negligent party may be able to escape paying compensation on the basis that your claim is out of time.
The law surrounding the time limits for industrial disease compensation is extremely complex and issues will differ from case to case, particularly when seeking compensation on behalf of a former family member. It is not always necessary to have a firm diagnosis from a medical practitioner for the time limit to commence. In these circumstances you seek legal advice from a specialist as soon as you experience symptoms which you believe may have been caused by a third party.
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