Vibration White Finger Compensation Claims
Vibration White Finger (VWF) is also known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) as it also affects other areas of the upper limbs and has other symptoms associated with it, not just the fingers as was previously thought.
It is an industrial injury that affects people that have worked with heavy vibrating machinery, using such tools as pneumatic drills, road levellers, chainsaws, hammers and other similar devices.
If you believe that you have fallen victim to VWF due to the negligence of your employer and want to make a claim for compensation, then contact us to do so by filling out the form provided or by calling us on 0161 82 11 229. There are time limits in place so make sure you don’t miss the threshold and make the claim today.
Causes and Symptoms of VWF
VWF is a type of repetitive strain injury that is caused by the constant vibrations that power tools exert on your hand, arm and fingers. This “mini-pounding” that your limbs receive causes damage to your blood vessels and nerves.
What this means is that over time, blood circulation in the damaged area becomes poor which is why a tingling/”pins and needles” sensation is felt, just like when you have slept on your arm and have restricted the blood supply.
The difference is that whilst sleeping on your arm means a temporary tingling sensation, VWF comes with a prolonged tingling feeling to your fingers.
Other symptoms include:
- Discolouration of the skin on your fingers (white) and/or a cold sensation – this is due to the damaged blood vessels which restrict blood flow and thus leave certain parts of your finger with little to no blood supply.
- Aches and pains in the upper limbs – this is due to the damage caused to muscles and bones from the constant vibration from the power tools which leaves your muscles weak and more prone to pain and loss of strength.
- Bone Cysts – these can be quite serious if not caught early enough because they can be irreversible. They appear as a swelling/lump in your fingers and wrists due to holes appearing in your bones from the vibrations of the power tools which then get filled with fluid.
How can I Prevent Vibration White Finger (VWF)?
“Prevention is better than cure” in VWF as there is no cure once you develop it as it is a cumulative disorder, so the main area of focus on prevention is the workplace.
Here are a few tips on what you should watch out for and try and practice if you are at constant exposure with vibrating equipment at work:
- Breaks – Make sure you take regular intervals when using vibrating power tools to give your limbs a rest and some time to recover. Try and take 1 10 minute break for every hour you work with vibrating equipment.
- Loose Grip – Try and hold the vibrating equipment as loosely as possible. This is to do with the absorption of the vibrations.
- Ergonomic/Protective Equipment – Make sure your employer provides you with adequate protective and ergonomic gear to reduce the vibration transference to your arms and fingers. Try and use vibration absorbing gloves, pads, gels and foams. These work by absorbing the energy that the vibrations transfer.
- Try and keep your hands warm to stimulate blood flow and try and avoid cigarettes and other blood constricting drugs.
What Treatments are there for VWF?
As there is no cure for Vibration White Finger, the main treatment is how you treat your body in order to cope with the stressors that cause VWF.
Obviously a healthy body is more resilient to VWF, so combined with a number of other factors will make coping with the condition easier. Here are a number of tips:
- Stop using vibrating equipment – sounds obvious, but eliminating such power tools will stop the worsening of the condition.
- Exercise and keep a healthy weight and diet – this includes stopping smoking, stopping/limiting caffeine consumption and don’t take drugs as all these measures help with blood flow.
- Avoid the cold (where possible) and try and keep warm as the blood flows easier when you are warm as your blood vessels expand in the heat and contract in the cold.
- Take the correct medication as prescribed by your GP, as some over the counter drugs may trigger bouts of VWF.
Can I Make a Claim for Compensation?
In order to make a successful claim for compensation, you will need proof that your employer knew about the dangers of vibrating equipment in the workplace but did not take preventative measures to stop their employees from developing VWF or other RSI related conditions.
Just like any other Personal Injury Claim for Compensation, the time limit is 3 years from the date you had knowledge of your VWF condition. The claim will be made against your employer’s insurance company and will cover not only the pain and suffering due to your injury, but will include other costs such as:
- Loss of potential earnings.
- Aftercare/Treatment/Medication costs.
- Extra Travel/Home expenses incurred due to VWF.
If you are unsure about making a claim and want some help, guidance and advise, contact us today by filling in the form or calling us on 0161 82 11 229. Don’t delay as there is a time limit in place so it is better to act sooner rather than later, as later might be too late.
> Personal Injury Claims – Information on the different types of personal injury claims for compensation.