Put simply, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, also referred to HAVS, occurs as a result of spending long periods of time working with vibrating equipment. The vibrations can cause damage to nerves and muscles and the result is often painful and debilitating.
There is a range of symptoms that could be signs of hand arm vibration syndrome. These include:
- Tingling and / or numbness in fingers
- Loss of strength within the hands including difficulty in gripping items
- Loss of sensation within the hands and fingers
- Blanching of the fingers (when the tips go white) or reddening of the hands – particularly when cold or wet
In some cases these symptoms will only appear occasionally and last for a short time, whereas in others they can become permanent.
Effects of symptoms
Depending on the severity of the condition, the symptoms associated with HAVS can cause a great deal of physical pain to the sufferer, as well as distress from becoming unable to perform some tasks; particularly those involving fine motor skills such as fastening buttons or assembling small components. In a lot of cases cold temperatures can prove more difficult for those suffering from the effects of vibration as the cold penetrates the hands and makes gripping painful. A reduction in the strength of the sufferer’s grip can also prove dangerous if their work involves holding on to things for safety, or holding heavy objects.
What kind of equipment can cause issues from vibration?
Any machine which vibrates can increase the risks for the operator of developing a vibration related injury, but the most common include:
- Hand-held drills and grinders
- Concrete / road breakers
- Pneumatic drills
- Impact wrenches
- Powered sanders
What if vibrating equipment has injured you?
If you or someone you care for has suffered as a result of using vibrating equipment for long periods of time during their employment, it is likely that you will be able to make a claim for compensation. Employers have a duty to protect their workforce from the risks associated with the use of vibrating equipment, and if they have failed to do so appropriately then they have failed in their duty of care. Contact one of our highly experienced solicitors today, free of charge, and they will swiftly be able to tell you if you have a claim, and if so, how much it could be worth.