‘Smart’ gloves could eradicate VWF risk
A team at Nottingham Trent University has developed gloves containing minuscule sensors that could help protect workers from exposure to vibration.
Vibration affects thousands of workers in a variety of industries such as construction, arboriculture, agriculture and mining, and can cause permanent, painful symptoms. Over the past decade, more than 10,000 claims have been made for vibration white finger and carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
The Advanced Textiles Research Group is led by Professor Tilak Dias, who explained:
“By using smart textiles, it could be possible to detect with accuracy when a worker is exposed to damaging levels of vibrations and help prevent such conditions occurring in the first place.”
Sensors as small as 2mm long are embedded in micro pods which are placed in the yarn used to knit the gloves. The technology warns the wearer when
they experience vibrations likely to cause conditions such as vibration white finger and carpal tunnel syndrome. The gloves can be washed and used like any standard work glove without harming the technology.
What is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)?
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (also known as Vibration White Finger) is a condition that is caused by excessive use of vibratory tools and causes permanent damage to the hands, fingers and arms.
- Tingling and numbness in fingers
- Not being able to feel things
- Loss of strength in the hands
- Fingers turning white (blanching) and becoming red and painful on recovery, (particularly in the cold and wet, and probably only in the tips at first.)
Little known injury affects 2 million
Nimish Patel, a vibration injury expert at solicitors Roberts Jackson, comments on the needlessly high number of injuries occurring in the UK every year:
“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is completely preventable but once a person has the symptoms, the condition is permanent. Considering it affects 2 million workers in the UK, it’s something both employees and employers should be more aware of.”
Dr Theodore Hughes-Riley, a research fellow at the university who is developing the technology, said: “By lowering the risk of exposure to dangerous levels of vibrations, we can help improve the lives of thousands of construction workers around the world by helping prevent them develop what can become permanent industrial diseases.”
Claiming for Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
It is possible to claim compensation for vibration white finger or hand arm vibration syndrome if you have been exposed to high levels of vibration. It is your employer’s duty to ensure that you are having regular breaks when using tools that emit high levels of vibration such as pneumatic drills, road breakers and many more. They should also provide personal protective equipment such as gloves.
If you feel that you are being over exposed to levels of vibration whilst working you can check this on the HSE website using some of the online guides and calculators http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/vibrationcalc.htm
Do not hesitate to seek legal advice if you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned in this article or even if you are unsure.
Roberts Jackson are experts in running these types of cases and can provide you with a no obligation claim assessment to establish your legal position. If you would like to have a claim assessment or bring a No Win No Fee claim for HAVS or VWF, please get in touch using our freephone number 0800 001 4496 or alternatively fill out the contact form found on the right of this page and we can call you back at a time convenient for you.