What is vibration white finger (VWF)?

Vibration white finger (VWF) is an injury usually caused through the prolonged use of vibrating machinery and tools, leading to damaged nerve endings in the fingers and turning the skin white (hence its name). It is a form of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) and is most likely to be hazardous for those whose jobs entail regular contact with a vibrating tool. Symptoms of VWF can include:

●    tingling, numbness and loss of feeling in fingers
●    reduced strength in the hands
●    general aches and pains in the hands and fingers
●    fingers going white and becoming red and painful on recovery

Although some people may experience symptoms after only a few months of exposure to the vibration source, the effects can take several years to show up in others. If the problem is not addressed and exposure eliminated, symptoms are likely to worsen and possible become permanent.

Anyone suffering from VWF who worked regularly with vibrating tools after 1976 may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation.

Types of workers most affected by VWF

VWF is associated with workers in a range of industries where the work regularly involves the use of hand-held drills or vibrating tools, particularly:

●    building and maintenance of roads and railways
●    construction
●    foundries and the steel industry
●    forestry
●    mining
●    motor vehicle manufacture and repair
●    shipbuilding

Tools which are known to cause VWF include:

●    chainsaws
●    grinders
●    hammers
●    impact wrenches
●    powered lawn mowers
●    pneumatic drills
●    sanders
●    strimmers

Helping you make a VWF claim

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations require your employer to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety caused by exposure to vibration at work. If you have suffered from VWF, the industrial disease lawyers at CH Legal can advise you on your rights and whether you can make a claim for compensation. If you would like to find out more about how we can help, get in touch with Julie Smith or call 0845 4786 354.