A man in his 30s has won compensation of more than £140,000 after he developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) as a result of using vibrating tools for many years.

The man had worked as a road worker for 15 years and used vibrating tools such as pneumatic drills while resurfacing roads. Despite regularly using such tools for several hours at a time, he was never warned that their use could be dangerous.

He was diagnosed with HAVS, which is also known as ‘vibration white finger’, after he mentioned during an occupational health assessment that he experienced pins and needles. HAVS can cause pain in the hands, wrists and arms and people with the condition have greatly reduced sensation in their fingers.

The man now has difficulty with everyday tasks, such as holding mugs and glasses and tying his shoelaces. His employment ended soon after his diagnosis and he can no longer do similar work.

The size of the compensation settlement reflects the severe impact HAVS has had on his life, including loss of future earnings.

About 3,000 people are diagnosed with HAVS annually in the UK. The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance for employees and employers on its website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/index.htm.

Employers have a duty to protect their employees from workplace dangers. If you have been injured at work because of your employer’s failure to protect your health and safety, contact us for advice.