A fitter who developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) after working with vibrating power tools for many years has won compensation for his injury.

Keith Rowley, 55, first noticed the onset of HAVS six years ago. He now finds that his fingers turn white and become very painful in cold weather. The damage to his hands is irreversible. Mr Rowley worked for General Kinematics Limited for 12 years, during which time he used vibrating tools on a daily basis.

When Mr Rowley brought a claim against his employer, the company denied liability for his injury. However, it agreed to pay compensation of £10,000 in an out of court settlement.

The symptoms of HAVS, also known as Vibration White Finger, can vary widely. They include a tingling sensation in the fingers, numbness and a whitening of the skin. Symptoms often become worse in cold weather.

Employers have a duty under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 to protect their employees from damage due to exposure to vibrating tools. They must assess the risks to health and safety arising from the use of such equipment and make sure that employees are aware of the potential dangers associated with the use of vibrating tools over extended periods.

HAVS should not be regarded as an inevitable by-product of working with vibrating tools. The disease can have a significant effect on sufferers’ lives and they have a right to compensation if their employer has failed to put in place the necessary protective measures.

For further information on controlling the risk of HAVS, see http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg175.pdf.

If you have been injured at work through no fault of your own, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact a member of our Personal Injury Team on 0800 018 5401 for advice.