With February being Raynaud’s Awareness Month, Jordans Solicitors are writing articles on the condition and how it affects people and what can be done for those living with the condition. We have previously written about Raynaud’s and explained what the condition is. But did you know that the industrial injury Vibration White Finger is a secondary form of Raynaud’s?

Vibration White Finger, also known as VWF, is an industrial injury brought on by the continuous use of hand held vibrating tools. VWF affects the blood vessels, nerves, muscles, and joints, of the hand, wrist and arm.

The effects of VWF are:-

  • Tingling or Numbness in the Fingers (Nerves & Blood Vessels affected)
  • Fingers Change Colour (Blood Vessels affected)
  • Loss of Manual Dexterity (Nerves & Muscles affected)

In really extreme cases sufferers have been known to loose fingers.

In the UK the legislation that covers exposure to VWF and governs the prevention of the condition is the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 which in turn falls under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

As part of this the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publishes a list of observed vibration levels for various tools, and graphs of how long each day a worker can be exposed to particular vibration levels. These graphs show two values, the Exposure Action Value (EAV, the time which a tool can be used before action needs to be taken to reduce vibration exposure) and an Exposure Limit Value (ELV, the time after which a tool may not be used).

Many workers with vibrating tools wear anti-vibrating gloves to reduce the risk of VWF.  The gloves do offer some degree of protection but most will only work on certain frequencies depending on the thickness of the material the glove is manufactured from. It is suggested that research is carried out before using the anti-vibrating glove to see if it will protect against the frequency of the vibrations of the tool being used, as if not they have been found to make the symptoms worse.

The Italian Professor Giovanni Loriga was the first person to describe the symptoms of VWF in 1911. But it wasn’t until 1918 when a study was carried out by Alice Hamilton MD that the link was made between the symptoms and vibrating tool use. Alice’s theories were formed after studying the symptoms of quarry cutters and carvers in Bedford, Indiana. She also discovered the link between an increase in VWF symptoms and cold weather as 1918 was a particularly harsh winter.

The first scale for assessing the condition, the Taylor-Pelmear scale, was published in 1975, but it was not listed as a prescribed disease in the United Kingdom until 1985, and the Stockholm scale was introduced in 1987.

In 1997, the UK High Court awarded £127,000 in compensation to seven coal miners for vibration white finger. A UK government fund set up to cover subsequent claims by ex-coalminers had exceeded £100 million in payments by 2004.

But many of the ex-coalminers payments in the UK were under settled by the solicitors handling the claims and many miners missed out on extra money they could have been entitled to at the time. Jordans Solicitors has a department looking into the claims the ex-coalminers made to see if their claims were under settled and are recovering £1000’s for ex-coalminers. If you are an ex-coalminer and made a claim for Vibration White Finger under the Government scheme then please give us a call free on 03303 001103 or click here. Make sure you do it today as time is running out on these claims.

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