Author: Doug Trask
If you have, and if you have subsequently developed any problems with your fingers, hands, wrists or forearms, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation against your current or former employers.
Nowadays, employers should carry out health screening (i.e. annual medical examinations). Furthermore, they should advise their workforces with regard to “safe exposure levels” for various tools and equipment. They may try to introduce job rotation for employees or even supply them with anti-vibration gloves. Additionally, newer pieces of equipment have been manufactured with reduced levels of vibration.
However, for many years, workers did not receive medical tests nor were they warned of the dangers of using air-powered tools for lengthy periods of time. For that reason, many thousands of men and women have developed symptoms such as tingling and numbness in their fingers. Others have developed whitening/blanching of one or more fingers. Some individuals may have poor dexterity and, for example, struggle with buttoning up shirts or tying shoelaces.
There are various tools and pieces of equipment which may cause some of the above symptoms but common causes of such symptoms are tools such as Jack Hammers, Jigger Picks, Stihl Saws, Whacker Plates and Chain Saws.
If you believe that you meet the above criteria then you may be entitled to pursue a claim. There are, however, time limits in which to bring a case and the general rule is that proceedings need to be issued against any employer/former employer within three years of the “date of knowledge”, this is the date that you first believed that you may be suffering with a work-related problem. Please also note that vibration white finger (VWF) and hand, arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) tend to develop whilst still using vibratory tools or within two years of last using such equipment.
The important thing is that you contact a solicitor who specialises in this type of claim, as soon as possible.