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What Is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS?)

View profile for Mark Ellis
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Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome often shortened to HAVS is an industrial injury that can cause severe pain and potentially long lasting damage to a person’s fingers and hands.  It used to be known as Vibration White Finger (VWF) owing to one of the main symptoms of the condition however it is now referred to as HAVS reflective of the symptoms that it can cause.

What Causes Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome mostly affects those individuals who operate vibrating power tools or machinery regularly or for long periods of time such as pneumatic drills, grinders, sanders, chain saws and even hedge trimmers.  The repetitive nature of the use of such machinery can cause damage to a person’s nerves, muscles, joints and blood vessels. 

What Are the Symptoms Of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

The regular use of vibrating tools and machinery can cause users to suffer the following symptoms for which they should seek immediate advice from their GP.  The symptoms you should look out for are:-

  • A whitening of the skin on your fingers.
  • A cold sensation in your fingers.
  • Numbness in your fingertips.
  • Tingling in your fingers.

Symptoms may not develop immediately after using vibrating machines, they often develop over time however they are and can be long lasting and painful.  You must not ignore these symptoms, the condition can deteriorate if you continue to use vibrating tools and machinery and you must seek immediate medical and legal advice.

What To Do If You Suffer These Symptoms/Injury?

Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors have assisted clients who have suffered the condition Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome for the last 30 years.  In all of these cases the condition has been brought on by the excessive and continuous use of vibrating machines in the course of their employment indeed it is now a recognised industrial disease.

If your employment can be shown as the cause of your condition you may be able to recover compensation from your employer and you should seek advice.


What Claim Can You Make For Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Vibration injury claims can vary in severity and impact.  The exact amount of compensation depends on a variety of factors which include the long term effects of the injury, the severity of the pain and whether it affects your ability to work.  Damages awards for vibration injury can range from several thousand pounds to over £100,000.  Indeed the writer has dealt with such claims and has succeeded in recovering damages from former employers for sums as little as a few thousand pounds to awards exceeding £100,000.

Damages which can be recovered for Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome include:-

  • Pain and suffering.  HAVS will cause you pain and suffering for which you are entitled to receive damages.  The amount of compensation you can claim for does depend upon the severity and the duration of symptoms.  As mentioned above, the writer has dealt with a range of awards from several thousand pounds to those exceeding £100,000.
  • Financial loss and expenses.  If you suffer from the condition it is likely to have an impact on your working capacity and your ability to work with tools and vibrating machinery will be severely hampered so loss of income for past and future loss can form a significant part of any claim.
  • In addition to the loss of income you may also be able to claim damages for tasks that you require others to do for you such as DIY, decorating and gardening which you would normally have done prior to your injury.
  • Legal costs.  So long as your claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity is in excess of £1,000 you will be entitled to claim the majority of your legal costs in pursuing a claim. 

How To Bring & Fund A Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Claim?

Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors will provide advice as to the options they can offer for the funding a Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome claim.  One of the most common options our clients use is a Conditional Fee Agreement more commonly known as “no win no fee”.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors will only consider bringing a claim on your behalf if they consider that you have reasonable prospects of success.  If your case is unsuccessful, if funded under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win no fee) you will not have to pay anything should the claim be unsuccessful. 

I've personally dealt with a huge number of these claims following the use of vibrating tools and I encourage any individuals who wish to investigate a claim to contact me to discuss your claim without delay.