Do You Know the Damage Vibratory Tools Can Cause?
We have spent a considerable amount of time, trawling around, looking for things to write about Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Then it hit us, that a lot of people still do not know what it is they are suffering with and what their symptoms mean. What they do know is, for a very long time, throughout their working lives, they have been working with vibratory tools.
Now we are aware, there is a brief video by my colleague explaining HAVS on the site and some further information, but we have decided to take the time, to go into a little more detail, contextually, about what exactly HAVS is. Essentially we could rant on about the medical terminology, diagnosis and causes until we are blue in the face, but we do not want to bore you, so let us keep it simple and to the point;
1. HAVS, the clue being in the name, is caused by vibration, it does not mean your hand vibrates uncontrollably, no, it is the result of damage caused by your hands being subject to excessive levels of vibration;
2. This in turn damages the structures of the hand, whether those be vascular or neurological;
3. The visible and physical effects of that damage are, blanching of the fingers, loss of dexterity and acute sporadic pain radiating from the finger tips into the palm.
Putting that into context, you need to think in terms of where you work, and what you have been doing.
The Symptoms above are typical of classic HAVS, this is specifically a result of vibration, and it is very rare that you could suffer with constitutional pathology that would cause the specific symptoms. However, there are some conditions that would contribute and some lifestyle choices also.
Now other considerations aside, in a perfect world, you will have worked with vibratory tools, the obvious ones being kangos’, jack hammers’ and other tools for use in road breaking. Over the course of some years you will, as a result notice symptoms, this means your exposure to vibration will cumulate at over 2.5 m/s2 for the entire working day.
If the above is the case, then, the employer is allegedly in breach. There will be numbering other factors that will affect you; the symptoms themselves whilst being objectively measured are subjective to each individual. Though our firm advice would be consult your doctor should you notice those symptoms. They certainly will not appear as soon as you start working with the tools, your body has a tolerance, an ability to resist the damage, until such a point as it becomes too much and the damage is irreversible.
If you are no longer working and have symptoms, remember you have 3 years from the day of your last culpable exposure to bring a claim.
However if you are still working with the tools, each day you use them gives you a new cause of action.
If you suffer from the above or have questions about HAVS, then please contact the team here at Roberts Jackson, and we will see if we can help.