Tips to Prevent Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

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Hand arm vibration syndrome prevention
LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott
Legally reviewed by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott In: Industrial Disease

Can you Prevent Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is the medical term for symptoms caused by the excessive use of vibratory hand-held or hand guided power tools and machines.

The excessive use of vibratory tools can cause permanent damage to the nerves, blood vessels and joints of the hand, wrist and arm.

An Employers’ responsibility?

Employers are required to prevent any such damage to their employees’ health by providing the correct tools, protective equipment, breaks and training.

If you have developed hand arm vibration syndrome as a result of your employers’ negligence you are likely able to claim compensation for your suffering. Contact our solicitors today to find out more about how we can help you.

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Types of Vibration Injuries caused at Work

Vibration injuries are usually split into three categories; neurological injuries, vascular injuries and musculoskeletal injuries.

Neurological Injuries

Symptoms usually are tingling and/or numbness in the hands and fingers.

As the symptoms get worse, sufferers can lose feeling in their hands and fingers which in turn prevents them from completing even the easiest of tasks.

Vascular Injuries

Symptoms usually affect the small blood vessels in the hands and fingers where blood flow circulation is restricted. This causes blanching and numbness in the fingers and arms.

Musculoskeletal Injuries

Symptoms may show in the form of arthritis, tendonitis and changes in muscle fibre.

Sufferers may notice reduced mobility and pain in their hand and arms.

How Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome affects Lives

Hand arm vibration syndrome has affected many people around the UK, most of whom are workers who have used vibratory power tools or machines in their careers.

Sufferers from HAVS have shared their experiences with others on the HSE website, with a recent quote from a mechanic’s technician stating “HAVS has affected my day-to-day living. I have a loss of manual dexterity and find it very difficult to use my fingers, in particular my thumbs, coupled with loss of feeling and sensations in various sections of my hands.”

In another statement, a heavy fabrication technician had said:

“I have difficulties picking up things, small things, pushing buttons. I drop things more and don’t know the amount of pressure I’m putting on finger and thumb”

HAVS can affect both your personal and your work life, as reflected in a statement of a shipbuilder suffering from the condition:

“I play darts, can’t do that anymore, I can’t do freshwater fishing, can’t feel the lines, fine lines between the fingers, can’t feel them at all. Can’t pick up small screws, DIY, quite a few things I can’t do a lot of now. I can’t turn over the pages in a paper, you have to wet your fingers all the time because you can’t feel the paper between the fingers”.

Preventing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

So how can you prevent Hand-arm vibration syndrome?

Well, first and foremost employers have a duty of care to protect their staff from suffering from hand-arm vibration syndrome.

If symptoms do start to occur then make sure to report this to your employer immediately so they help you prevent further damage.

Your employer should review the amount of time you are operating the tools, what breaks you have been utilising and if you have been given the appropriate equipment and safety gear for the job.

If you are worried about developing hand arm vibration syndrome or if you have started to notice symptoms as described earlier you can:

  • Ensure you have been provided with suitable PPE
  • Ask your employer if you can use suitable low vibration tools
  • Make sure to always use the right tool for the task you’re required to complete
  • Before using the tools, make sure to give them a look over to ensure they have been properly looked after and maintained
  • Take little breaks as frequently as possibly when doing a task to ensure you are not using a tool for a prolonged period of time
  • Massage and exercise your fingers on your breaks to help your blood circulation and bring back feeling into your fingers
  • If and when you can, wear gloves, a hat or waterproof clothing to keep yourselves warm. Cooling down your body can exaggerate your symptoms

AWH Solicitors are experts in dealing with hand arm vibration syndrome cases.

With our no win no fee legal services we help claim compensation for those who have been affected by hand arm vibration syndrome as a result of work.

If you would like more information or want to discuss your claim in more detail you can call us on 0800 999 2220 or request a call back for a time best suited to you.

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