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No win No fee | Legal issues relating to vibration White finger and HAVS claims

Laws relating to Vibration injuries or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

The medical condition that resulted in the fingers of people becoming white was first identified in the 1860s by Dr Maurice Raynaud and became known as Raynaud’s Disease.

Today where white finger is caused by vibration it is commonly named HAVs or VWF.  If you suffer this through prolonged work related exposure you may be entitled to No win No fee compensation.  There are general duties required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for employers to look after the health, safety and welfare at work of all its employees.

Please note: that we have had a number of enquiries from claimants stating that doctors are failing to properly diagnose conditions relating to vibration type injuries. If you or your family have encountered this you may be able to claim for medical negligence compensation. Please speak to us if you need an unbiased legal opinion.

This Act also requires employers to provide information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

In compensation claims for vibration diseases the courts generally hold that from 1975 employers should have known that workers who on a regular basis suffered vibration from power tools and machinery were at risk of suffering a vibration disease and therefore should have taken precautions to protect its workers.

For the purpose of a compensation claim the important issue to be considered is the amount of vibration regularly suffered by the person wishing to make the claim.  It is therefore necessary to consider the type of work undertaken, the power tools or machinery used and for how long the power tools or machinery were used.

It may well be necessary to obtain expert advice from a vibration consultant to advise on the vibration levels to which the person was exposed.   Since 1975 the law has continued to develop regarding the obligations on employers to protect against the risk of workers suffering a vibration disease.

In 1985 VWF became reportable under RIDDOR and also in 1985 a prescribed disease for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.  In 1987 a British Standard no 6842 was published and its aim was to assist employers in understanding the risk of workers suffering a vibration injury.

August 2012

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require an employer to carry out risk assessments on the work done by its employees and this includes the health risk of vibration.

It provided guidance on the measurement of vibration and information about the risk of workers suffering a vibration disease, such as white finger (VWF).   In 1992 important new health and safety regulations were introduced that became law in January 1993.  For instance, the Provision and Use of Work equipment Regulations require an employer to supply only safe equipment such as power tools to its workers and if equipment caused high levels of vibration it is likely that a court would hold that it was unsafe equipment.

The health effects of hand-arm vibration are the subject of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.  The regulations introduce a new daily exposure action value (EAV) and exposure limit value (ELV) for the daily amount of vibration suffered by a worker.

The Regulations emphasize that for health reasons workers should suffer the lowest amount of vibration possible because vibration is harmful. More links:

Read more

Learn more about the symptoms you may encounter with white finger and related diseases.

Also how to identify whether you have grounds to make a claim for vibration injury.

Many people have made successful claims for white finger 

See how the courts deal with cases – Case law regarding vibration injury claims

Millions at risk from vibration injury at work

More links:

What is Vibration white finger?protecting workers against vibration injury HSE on Vibration injuries

If your employer has failed to take steps to reduce excessive noise in your working environment or provide protective equipment such as ear defenders etc –  you may be entitled to make a claim.


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