A disease of the hand and fingers caused by excessive exposure to hand held vibratory tools. This condition is more commonly referred to as 'Vibration White Finger' (VWF).

Victims that could be eligible for Vibration White Finger compensation have often worked with such tools for many hours during their working day with tools in constant use.

Damage to the fingers can occur when exposed to too much vibration over a period of time from the tools used. A claim will be successful where we can prove your employer should have known that symptoms were likely given the working patterns involved, and the length of time the employee was exposed to the vibrating tools. Often clients have had several employers and thus establishing which employer is responsible for the symptoms can prove difficult.

Symptoms

There can be three components to VWF:

  • Attacks of blanching (whiteness) in the fingers

  • Numbness and tingling in the fingers resulting in a loss of dexterity and sensation

  • Muscle/bone disorders, causing such problems as a reduction in grip strength

All three components are not always present. It can be one or more of the components listed. The more intense and lengthy the exposure to vibration, the worse the symptoms are likely to be.

You may also suffer from a condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This is a condition which is often associated with exposure to vibration and can be compensated in the same way as VWF. If you have been exposed to vibration and diagnosed with CTS, you may be able to pursue a claim.

Occupations where we see this condition the most often:-

  • Road Workers

  • Construction Workers

  • Foundry Workers

  • Building Workers

  • Railway / Motor Vehicle Repair Workers

  • Fitters

  • Steel Fabricators

  • Forestry Workers

  • Arbourists

Making a Claim

Employers can only be held legally responsible if it can be shown that they ought to have known of the damaging effects of excessive exposure to vibration. It is unlikely that employers will be deemed to have known about the damaging effects of excessive exposure to vibration prior to 1976. If exposure to vibration was after 1976, then it may be possible to pursue a claim if:-

  • A Doctor diagnoses Hand/Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) or VWF or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A diagnosis based on the account of symptoms, history of exposure to vibration and the exclusion of any other medical reason for the condition to have developed.

  • It can be shown that the employer knew or ought to have known that the excessive exposure to vibration through the use of hand held vibratory tools at work may result in workers developing VWF.

  • There has been exposure to unsafe levels of vibration. Expert evidence may be required to assess whether or not a worker has been exposed to safe or unsafe levels of vibration. A reasonable employer should have in place a programme of preventative measures such as job rotation, regular medical checks and provide warnings of the risk of developing the condition. 

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Vibration White Finger is a prescribed disease which may entitle a person suffering from the condition to make a claim to the Social Security Agency for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. It is not necessary to show that an employer is at fault for a worker developing the condition.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Vibration White Finger or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, please telephone us for further information or for a free, no obligation discussion on 028 9024 3901 or contact us online using the contact us form.