Can I claim compensation for vibration white finger?
If you’ve been using vibrating machinery at work, you should have been told about the possible side effects of that machinery and how you can combat them. If you weren't informed by your employer, you may have a case for making a vibration white finger claim.
Your compensation should cover any earnings you've lost because of your condition. It can also be awarded to help make up for the suffering you've endured, and may endure in the future.
If you do choose to make a claim for vibration white finger, one part of that process will be proving that your condition was caused in the workplace. It might be necessary to gain expert evidence for this. You solicitor can tell you more about whether that evidence will be needed and how they can get hold of it.
If you'd like to speak to us about your vibration white finger claim, there's no cost to do so, and you won't be pressured into making a claim. Our friendly advisors can talk through your situation confidentially and let you know if they think you have a claim.
What is vibration white finger?
Vibration white finger is one of several kinds of industrial injury, usually caused by hand-held, vibrating machinery.
Vibration white finger disease is the vascular component of hand-arm vibration syndrome, also known as HAVS. It has been recognised as an industrial disease for many years and is known to affect tens of thousands of workers. Because the condition is so widespread, claims for vibration white finger are not uncommon.
Causes of vibration white finger
Vibration white finger can be caused by repeated use of vibrating machinery such as chainsaws, pneumatic drills and power drills.
It’s not entirely known how the vibrations cause vibration white finger, but it’s thought that they cause small but repetitive injuries to the nerves and blood vessels in the fingers, which add up over time.
Vibration white finger symptoms
The symptoms of vibration white finger include:
- Fingers turning white
- A loss of manual dexterity
- A lack of grip strength
- Numb, tingling or throbbing fingers
In persistent cases, the symptoms can be quite severe. If you're suffering from vibration white finger, you might find that you experience symptoms during leisure activities, as well as at work. If your condition is severe, the symptoms might last for hours at a time.
The effects of vibration white finger are often first felt in cold weather. As you may know, these symptoms are made all the more painful when the blood returns to the fingers. This causes the fingers to turn red and sometimes blue, accompanied by an uncomfortable throbbing.
With continued use of vibrating tools, the uncomfortable symptoms of vibration white finger can start to occur at less extreme temperatures, when the hands get wet, or even in the summer. Your symptoms may last for months or even years after you've stopped using vibrating machinery.
Reducing symptoms of vibration white finger
Left to continue, vibration white finger can affect whole fingers, and even have some permanent numbing effects. The vibrating tools themselves rarely set off the symptoms of vibration white finger; it’s usually down to the cold.
It’s thought that smoking, caffeine, some medicines and some drugs can make the effects of vibration white finger worse, so it’s recommended that you try and give these up where possible.
Exercise and keeping warm are good ways to combat vibration white finger. Women are also nine times more likely to suffer from the disease than men.