5 Signs you have been affected by working with vibratory tools

5 Signs you have been affected by working with vibratory tools

Vibration White finger or HAVS (hand arm vibration syndrome) is a common condition among industrial workers. Figures from the Medical Research Council show that there are roughly 288,000 people in the UK that are affected by the condition which is caused by excessive use of vibratory tools [1].

HAVS is quite a serious condition that affects the hand, arm, wrist and fingers making day to day tasks for sufferers sometimes very difficult. There are various types of hand held tools that can cause the condition however the most common tend to be roadbreakers, demolition hammers, angle grinders and hammer drills [2].

Below is Roberts Jackson’s top 5 signs that you have been affected by working with these tools:

1) Numbness in fingers
Overuse of vibratory tools can lead to damage to blood vessels and therefore effects circulation to the hands. Because of this, fingers can go numb at random periods but usually an “attack” will not last any longer than an hour at a time.

2) White Fingers
For the same reasons as the first, damage to the blood vessels affects the circulatory system and can lead to blanching of the finger tips. As time goes on the whiteness can spread down to the knuckle of the affected fingers.

3) Loss of Dexterity
Excessive vibration from certain tools can lead to a loss of manual dexterity in the hands. A reduction in grip strength is common and minor tasks that require intricate finger coordination such as doing up buttons on shirts or picking up loose change from a flat surface can become increasingly difficult.

4) Tingling in Hand and Arm
The modern terminology for the condition is known as Hand Arm Vibration syndrome, this is because sufferers and medical professionals identified that the condition does not just affect the hands. Pins and needle sensations up the arm towards the elbow can be quite common although arm movement/dexterity is not often affected.

5) Exacerbation during cold weather
All of the common symptoms listed above tend to get worse in cold weather. The winter months can be difficult for sufferers of HAVS and the numbness and blanching of the finger tips are usually the first to be affected because of circulation to extremities. These symptoms usually improve when the body is conditioned to normal room temperature .

Vibration white finger is one of the most common claim types that Roberts Jackson see on a daily basis, second only to hearing loss. Usually the two conditions go hand in hand due to the noise levels that vibratory tools emit.

People who have worked with these tools or have had a diagnosis for vibration white finger, HAVS or vibration induced carpal tunnel [5] in the last 5 years may be eligible to claim. If you or anyone you know has any of these symptoms and would like to make a claim we would urge you to get in touch with us using the call back form on the right hand side of this page or calling our FREEPHONE number on 0800 001 4496.

[1] http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/crr_pdf/1999/crr99232.pdf
[2] http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/advicetoemployers/assessrisks.htm
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibration_white_finger
[4] https://www.robertsjackson.co.uk/claim-guide/vibration-white-finger/
[5] https://www.robertsjackson.co.uk/industrial-disease-claims/carpal-tunnel-claims/