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Home > Personal Injury > Industrial Diseases > Vibration White Finger

Vibration White Finger

Tools causing vibration white finger

Vibration White Finger is an industrial injury affecting people whose work has involved extended use of vibrating power tools such as pneumatic drills, chain saws, riveting tools, fettling tools and grinders. A variety of tools can cause vibration white finger and if you think you have developed the disease you should seek advice from lawyers who have experience of conducting compensation claims for vibration white finger.

Strict time limits apply to making a claim for any type of personal injury, so please contact an experienced solicitor as soon as you think you may have a claim for compensation.

Please visit our section on information and advice for more details on making a personal injury compensation claim.

Stonemason receives vibration white finger compensation

Vibration white finger is a crippling condition and can affect anyone who uses vibrating tools if employers negligently allow them to be used excessively. But for a stonemason, for whom the use of his hands in this skilled occupation is critical, it is a devastating diagnosis that usually means the end of their career.

This compensation claim was brought against two of our client’s previous employers who had each negligently exposed him to the risk of developing vibration white finger. Both defendants strongly contested liability and we were forced to issue court proceedings. All issues were disputed, including the cause of the condition and the amount of exposure. The employer attempted to blame our client for the situation.
More about Stonemason receives vibration white finger compensation

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For more information on VWF and how Clear Answers may be able to help you, please select one of the links below.

Symptoms of vibration white finger

Symptoms of vibration white finger include physical coldness in the fingers, whitening of the finger colour, and the presence of a tingling sensation in the fingers. In some cases the fingertips become numb and the sufferer has difficulty picking up small objects such as coins.

There are different terms for the condition including vibration white finger, hand arm vibration syndrome and Raynauds phenomenon.

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Who is liable for your condition?

These kind of injuries caused by working with vibrating tools are deemed, where the work was being carried out prior to 1976, to be outside the scope of any knowledge of risk that the employer could reasonably have been expected to have, and so compensation will not generally be awarded for them.

Where a person has sustained vibration white finger caused by working with vibrating power tools after 1976, however, a claim for compensation may prove successful. Different dates may apply depending on the size and knowledge of the risk of a particular employer.

The mining industry in particular has given rise to tens of thousands of claims. For anyone who was exposed to excessive vibration from tools used in the course of coal mining, the relevant date is 1975.

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Specialist advice on vibration white finger

Clear Answers' lawyers specialising in industrial diseases are able to offer expert legal advice and guidance on compensation claims to anyone who has developed the symptoms of vibration white finger, or who is worried that they may be developing this condition. The specialist lawyers will investigate a possible compensation claim and, will provide expert advice on the steps to be taken. In many cases expert evidence will be obtained from a Consultant vascular surgeon with experience of cases of vibration white finger. In the event the report supports a link between the symptoms and the use of vibrating tools in the workplace, a claim will be submitted to the employers who have exposed the injured worker to harmful vibration levels.

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Vibration white finger cases we have won

Clear Answers' team of experts, deal successfully with many cases of industrial diseases, including vibration white finger. Here is just a sample of the many successes we have achieved for our clients.

Compensation awarded to client forced to give up gardening profession when he developed vibration white finger

All his life our client had worked in some area of gardening, including maintenance of cemeteries, woods, and school gardens. Lately, he had worked for several years as an arborist and thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor life. Only in his 40’s, he had noticed his hands had become much more sensitive to the cold, and on occasions had turned blue. He also experienced tingling in his fingers after using a saw for long periods and at night would often wake with an ache, similar to a dull pulse, known as paraesthesia.

His employers sent our client and his colleagues for tests, which included nerve conduction and re-warm tests. These eventually confirmed that not only had he developed vibration white finger (also known as Raynauds phenomenon) but also had carpal tunnel syndrome. The onset of these industrial diseases was caused by excessive use of power and pneumatic tools. In his work as a gardener, our client had variously used hand held mowers, various chainsaws, mainly for felling trees, and aga drills.

For several years, he had had to use chainsaws for many hours a day as he worked on clearance of woods. At other times during his employment, he had used the mowers virtually for entire days, during the growing season, typically from March through to October.

Experts have now advised that he should no longer work with vibrating tools, and he has been unable to secure work of a similar status with his existing employer. His employment was terminated on ill health grounds some months after this diagnosis, and our client has unsuccessfully tried to find alternative work, often being rejected when his vibration white finger injury is revealed. He will continue to be disadvantaged in the open labour market, despite his relatively young age.

The defendants eventually admitted liability in that they failed to warn our client, or his colleagues, of the risks involved in excessive use of vibrating tools. Neither did they provide any training or risk assessments, or provide a safe system of working such as a job rotation system. Other failures included not ensuring a programme of health surveillance was implemented, or appropriate personal protective equipment provided.

However, the defendants were not prepared to properly negotiate a settlement. Our personal injury lawyers, who specialise in vibration white finger compensation claims, were forced to issue court proceedings where the judge awarded over £80,000 in settlement of this industrial disease claim.

Client receives compensation after worsening of vibration white finger condition

Some years ago, our client had been awarded vibration white finger compensation due to the negligence of his employer, the defendant. Our client had been exposed to vibration tools routinely during the course of his work as a road man. However, following this earlier settlement, his employer refused to move him to alternative work when requested; continued to expose him to the same vibration induced risks as those which had caused his original condition; failed to offer any rotation system to minimise his exposure to power and pneumatic tools; and failed to carry out appropriate risk assessments or provide vibration white finger checks.

Subsequently, our client’s VWF condition increased from level 2 to level 3, and when he was no longer able to use the power and pneumatic tools, and therefore to continue in his position as a road man, rather than provide him with alternative work, his employer retired him on the grounds of ill health, after more than 20 years of loyal service.

For some time our client had feared he would not find alternative work, despite being relatively young in the market place. However, he has now found work that he enjoys, although it pays considerably less than his previous position of road man. He has also had to give up his hobbies of fishing and golf, as he is unable to grip or carry out fine movements with his hands.

It was necessary for Court proceedings to be issued before the defendants’ insurer offered suitable compensation, but our expert specialists in dealing with compensation claims for vibration white finger, were able to secure almost £50,000 for our injured client.

Client develops vibration white finger after years of exposure to pneumatic tools

For almost 10 years, our client has been employed by the defendants, firstly as an engine fitter, then a welder / finisher, and currently as an inspector. The first two of these positions involved daily use of pneumatically powered impact tools or electrically powered tools, including die grinders.

Only in his 30’s, our client began to notice changes to his hands. Following a meeting with the occupational therapist in 2004, he was given medical advice, which led him to visit his GP. He was then diagnosed with vibration white finger and advised that this was due to exposure to vibration equipment such as pneumatic and electrically power tools.

Sufferers of WVF or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome will usually experience tingling and possibly aching in the fingers, accompanied by coldness. There is often a noticeable colour change, in that the fingers may become whitened or even appear to be a bluish-purple colour. The symptoms can be intermittent or more constant and, in some cases, there may also be some numbness. This can lead to the sufferer having difficulty with handling things, particularly small objects or carrying out certain domestic or work tasks.

Our client has additionally developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome due to the repetitive nature of his work. Although he received some treatment with cortisone injections, these have now been stopped and he will be receiving decompression surgery.

The defendants admitted liability in that they had adopted an unsafe system of work, failing to keep a safe place of work. They also failed to devise an adequate system of job rotation that would have reduced our client’s exposure to vibration equipment. At no time was our client warned of the dangers of excessive use of vibrating equipment, or given training in limiting the use of these tools.

Our specialist vibration white finger lawyers, who have extensive experience in fighting industrial injury claims, were able to secure over £8,000 in vibration white finger compensation for our client.

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Making a claim for vibration white finger compensation

The size of the potential compensation claim will vary depending on the severity of the condition and whether the condition prevents an individual from carrying out his or her daily work.

We are the most experienced personal injury law firm in the UK.

Our lawyers have played a part in the biggest group compensation scheme ever set up for VWF victims.

As such we have the expertise, resources and knowledge to give you access to doctors, engineers and lawyers who will help bring your claim to a successful conclusion.

Clear Answers lawyers can provide expert specialist advice and assistance on the level of compensation claims for vibration white finger claims.

Telephone us now on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms.

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