How to Start a Vibration White Finger (VWF) Claim
The symptoms of Vibration White Finger
Vibration White Finger (VWF), also commonly known as Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), is an industrial injury affecting tens of thousands of workers around the world. VWF affects the victim’s blood circulation and impacts the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hand, wrist and arm. It is triggered by the continuous use of vibrating hand-held tools and machinery.
VWF can result in a number of symptoms. Victims often complain of tingling whiteness or numbness in the fingers. As the condition worsens, the whole finger, down to the knuckle, may become white and the feeling may be lost. Workers who suffer from VWF also complain of spasms or attacks occur causing considerable pain and reduced grip strength. These are usually triggered by exposure to cold temperatures.
If exposure to vibration continues over time, the symptoms can worsen and even become permanent. In extreme cases, the victim may be forced to lose their finger or fingers.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is another hand injury which can also cause pain and numbness in the thumbs and fingers, as well as a reduction in grip strength. Click here for more information.
Suffering VWF after using power tools
Power tools and the use of other vibrating equipment is the primary cause of VWF. Because of this, workers in the construction industries are at the highest risk of developing VWF.
When working with vibrating power tools, it is often instinctive to use a tight grip. Gripping vibrating tools for an extended period of time can affect blood circulation and lead to VWF and other injuries to the hands. Construction workers are also known to work long hours and have prolonged exposure to vibrations with few breaks. This can also increase your risk of VWF.
The main culprits expel vibrations between 5 to 20 hertz. While there is a large variety of tools that can induce VWF, the most common include: pneumatic drills, jack hammers, sanders, concrete vibrators, chain saws, compactors, hedge trimmers and lawn mowers.
Employers should provide proper protection
If using power tools is an integral part of your job, your employer should be taking preventative measures to ensure VWF doesn’t happen to you. There are a number of preventative actions that employers can take to reduce the risk of vibration white finger (VWF) and other repetitive strain injuries.
First and foremost, your employer should take measures to ensure the comfort and safety of each and every one of their employees. This includes: ensuring workers are kept warm and dry, considering ergonomic aids if appropriate, providing regular breaks and rotating workers between tasks.
If available, employers should also opt for tools with vibration reduction technology. If this isn’t an option, they should be aware of a tool’s vibration emission value as this can be used to determine safe tool use times.
Starting a VWF injury claim
If you believe that you have a valid VWF claim, you should speak to our qualified personal injury solicitors as soon as possible. They will advise you on your claim and discuss your chances of success. We work on a no win no fee basis, meaning you won’t be at financial risk when making a claim. Winning VWF or HAVS compensation could make a big difference to your quality of life, and help you deal with the injuries you have suffered.