Vibration White Finger, or VWF, is also now often referred to as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) as there are more symptoms than just ‘white fingers’. VWF or HAVS is a secondary form of Raynaud’s syndrome and an industrial injury triggered by continuous use of vibrating hand-held machinery.
VWF or HAVS is one type of industrial illnesses. Click here to find out about other industrial illnesses.
If you suspect you are suffering with VWF or HAVS you are probably experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:-
1. Cold sensation and discolouration.
2. Tingling and numbness in the fingers which can cause sleep disturbance.
3. Pain and weakness in the fingers, hands and forearms.
4. In the cold and wet, the tips of your fingers going white then red and being painful on recovery.
Who is at risk?
Those employed as manual workers are at the highest risk of developing VWF or HAVS and prolonged us of the following tools can cause injury:-
1. Concrete breakers/pokers.
2. Sanders, grinders, disc cutters.
3. Hammer drills.
4. Chipping hammers.
5. Strimmers, brush cutters, hedge trimmers.
6. Powered mowers.
7. Scabblers or needle guns.
8. Cut off saws (for stone).
How to protect yourself
It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure you are safe from risk of injury whilst at work but you too have a part to play. Consider if the job you are doing could be done differently, without the need for vibrating tools and machines. If this is not possible consider the following:
1. Request suitable low vibration tools.
2. Always use the correct tool for the job (the longer the job takes the more exposed to the vibration you are).
3. Check tools prior to use to ensure they are properly maintained, serviced and working as they should be. Poorly maintained/faulty tools can increase vibration.
4. Ensure cutting tools are kept sharp to maximise efficiency.
5. Try to reduce the amount of time spent at any one time on a particular tool and take regular breaks, doing other jobs, in between times.
6. Avoid gripping the tool any tighter than is strictly necessary.
7. If possible store tools inside so the handles are not extremely cold when first used.
Making a claim
If you are suffering with VWF or HAVS and feel that this is through no fault of your own but rather that your employed has been negligent and exposed you to the injury please contact us today. Our friendly team are here to answer any questions you may have and contact is on a no obligation, free of charge basis.
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