According to recent reports, a construction company in Leeds have been fined after a number of workers were diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). The company reported seven cases of HAVS in an 18-month period. All the workers had been carrying out ground works involving vibrating tools. Many of them had been working in the industry for over 20 years.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that in 2016 the company contracted a new occupational health provider to replace their existing one. The diagnosis of the workers’ conditions resulted from these changes. Prior to the new company taking over the contract, there was no suitable health surveillance in place to identify hand arm vibration syndrome.
Speaking after the hearing, an HSE inspector said: “The company should have undertaken a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify the level of vibration employees were exposed to throughout their working day and then put in place appropriate control measures. Furthermore, the company should have put in place suitable health surveillance to identify HAVS in their workforce”
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, or HAVS, is a medical term that describes injuries which using vibrating machinery causes. Tools like pneumatic drills, sanders and needle guns could cause HAVS – and if you use or have used vibrating tools or machinery in the workplace, you could be at risk from HAVS.
What causes HAVS?
HAVS is usually developed because of prolonged exposure to intense vibration tools over a long period of time. For instance, the following vibrating power tools present a significant amount of risk for developing HAVS:
- Surface power tools, such as concrete breakers, sanders, grinders, and disc cutters
- Saws and drills such as chainsaws, or hammer/pneumatic drills
- Needle guns
- Any grass maintenance tools, such as power mowers, strimmers or hedge trimmers
- Any other rotary equipment and tools at work
One of the issues with HAVs is that it can take a long time to develop, which means it’s easy for symptoms to go unnoticed. But hand arm vibration syndrome can be a debilitating and distressing condition. There’s a wide range of HAVS symptoms, which can range from very minor to quite serious – but they can be easy to miss initially.
- Whitening in the fingers
- Tingling and numbness
- General weakness in affected areas
- Extreme sensitivity to cold
- A loss of manual dexterity
Some of these symptoms are serious enough that they can be cause for their own compensation claims.
HAVS can affect how people can use their hands and arms, limiting mobility for hours at a time. HAVS can also affect your ability to work, particularly because it affects key parts of the body like joints and blood vessels.
How We Can Help with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
Here at The Compensation Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with personal injury claims. This includes industrial disease claims and hand arm vibration syndrome. So contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.