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HAVS Compensation Claims (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome) Guide

By Olivia Fitzpatrick. Last Updated 21st March 2024. Welcome to our guide on making HAVS compensation claims for hand arm vibration syndrome.

Hand arm vibration syndrome is a condition which affects people who work with vibrating equipment on a day-to-day basis. According to the Health and Safety Executive, almost two million workers in the UK either suffer from vibration-related injuries, or are at risk of developing them in the future due to working practices and conditions. The bulk of new hand arm vibration syndrome claims and claims for vibration white finger compensation are made by those who have used this type of equipment or machinery on a regular basis.

Typically people think that those affected by conditions such as this will be employed in more manual or industrial work, such as operating heavy-duty vibrating equipment. However, it can also affect dentists and dental technicians who use fine equipment with very high-frequency vibrations.

In our guide below, we answer questions such as ‘what is hand arm vibration syndrome’, and what causes it as well as looking at what you could be owed in a HAVS compensation claim.

After reading our guide, you can get in contact with our specialist team to start making your personal injury claim. Contact us today by calling us on 0800 073 8804, or by using our email address.

Time limits for making HAVS compensation claims

If you weren’t already aware, there are certain time limits that apply to those wishing to make personal injury claims. This means that those attempting to make legal proceedings outside the appropriate time limit for their case could risk losing out on their compensation as they are no longer eligible to claim it.

For most personal injury claims, this time limit is 3 years from the date of the incident. In many cases, the development of HAVS may not be immediately obvious and there is more than one incident that causes it to develop. Therefore, exceptions can be made to this time limit to allow claimants that realised symptoms after this 3-year period has passed, meaning they can make a claim up to 3 years after the date of knowledge.

If claimants are mentally incapacitated or under the age of 18 and therefore unable to make legal proceedings themselves, this time limit is paused. In the meantime, they can have a litigation friend claim on their behalf, at which point, the time limit will come into effect.

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A Guide To Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Claims

havs compensation claimThose suffering hand arm vibration syndrome (or HVAS) and who are seeking to start a hand arm vibration syndrome claim are likely to have developed the condition through the workplace. Under the 2005 Control of Vibration at Work Regulations, your employer owes you a duty of care to reduce or eliminate any potential risks which can arise from using vibrating tools and equipment. Employers should take the following steps:

Staff should be given regular breaks from using this type of equipment.
Providing personal protective equipment, such as vibration-reducing gloves.
Providing the right health and safety training and making staff aware of potential hazards.
Ensuring the correct tools are used for a task, and in the correct way.

Through the rest of this guide, we will look at the causes, symptoms, and effects of hand arm vibration syndrome on a person, as well as what the average payout for a HAVS compensation claim and how to best start a hand arm vibration claim.

What Is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Or Vibration White Finger?

Hand arm vibration syndrome will affect the hands and arms. It leads to changes in sensation and the perception of feeling in the hands and arms. Sufferers may experience a permanent loss of sensation and weakness in the affected areas. Sufferers will generally have worked with some form of vibrating tools or equipment within the last decade, though stopping using them could stop the early signs of the condition becoming worse.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Hand arm vibration syndrome will be the result of damage to the blood vessels, nerves as well as joints in the arms, wrists and in the hands. The value of a hand arm vibration syndrome claim is determined by how serious the symptoms are now, and how serious they are estimated to be in the future.

Symptoms of the condition may include any or all of the following: loss of sensation, reduced strength and numbness or tingling in your fingers. People may also find that the very tips of their fingers turn red or white when exposed to the cold or to wet weather.

What Are The Effects Of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Hand arm vibration and vibration white finger are often experienced at the same time as they are caused in similar ways, namely the prolonged operation of vibrating equipment. This can be using hand tools or larger machinery.

The symptoms of these conditions will vary from person to person, and as such, the long-term effects and average payout for vibration white finger can vary considerably. The effects of this can also be made worse by exposure to cold weather.

Using vibrating equipment can cause damage to the muscles, tendons, joints, and bones. It can also affect the wider nervous system through the fingers, hands, and arms. Common effects of this which are reported by sufferers include:

  • Blanching and whitening of the fingers on exposure to the cold.
  • A tingling feeling and/ or loss of feeling in the fingers and fingertips.
  • Loss of dexterity and fine motor control.
  • Pain through the fingers, hands, and wrists.
  • Bone cysts.

It should be noted that this is a gradual condition and will progress over time. The effects of HAVS may not become apparent immediately.

What Are The Common Causes Of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

The leading cause of people developing the condition and making HAVS compensation claims is prolonged usage of vibrating equipment or machinery. The condition often develops slowly over a period of several years and may not become apparent until years after exposure has stopped.

As such, it can sometimes be tricky to pin down the specific cause or occupation which caused the injury to develop. This is why having an experienced HAVS compensation claim lawyer can be crucial to making a successful claim.

The most common effects of the condition are things such as loss of feeling, some skin blanching (also known as vibration white finger) and loss of grip strength. It can be common for people to suffer and make a vibration white finger claim at the same time as making a hand arm claim.

Different people may find that they have a different propensity for hand arm vibration to develop, and the progression of the condition may vary considerably between different people. For some, the symptoms will develop after just a few years of exposure to or using this type of equipment. Other people may be able to use it for several decades with no problem, or only developing symptoms later in life.

Once someone has developed hand arm vibration syndrome, the condition can not be cured or reversed and will need to be managed instead. The team working out how much you are owed will use a HAVS compensation calculator which takes into account the long-term effects on your employability and quality of life.

Due to the seriousness and irreversibility of the condition, it is crucial to pick up on the early symptoms of the condition so that preventative measures can be taken as early as possible. In the early stages of the condition, it could be possible for the person affected to switch to a different job role or employ different tools to prevent the progress of the condition.

Injuries associated with vibrating machinery such as hand arm vibration and vibration white finger are much more prevalent in industries such as sheet metal working, metal cutting, general construction, as well as car repairs and some electrical works. Any occupation where the person is exposed to high vibrating equipment on a day-to-day basis could develop the condition.

These injuries are more likely to affect working-age people and hand arm vibration, or vibration white finger compensation amounts will take into account the effect this injury will have on the claimant’s future career prospects. Nerve damage in the fingers, hands, wrists, or forearms will mean lower fine motor control of the fingers and hands and reduced grip strength. Some victims will also experience pain and cramping.

Am I Eligible To Start A Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Claim?

If you think or know that you have a hand arm vibration syndrome injury, one of your first questions could be whether you are eligible to make a HAVS compensation claim. A hand arm vibration claim can be made by anyone who has used hand-operated and vibrating machinery or tools through the course of their work. The personal injury lawyers that we can provide you with can help those whose injuries could have been caused by:

  • Grinders, sanders, and disc cutters as well as concrete breakers.
  • Chainsaws and hammer drills, as well as hedge trimmers.
  • Power-operated lawnmowers.

As well as this, there are other people who are eligible to claim for hand arm vibration syndrome. People using the following types of machinery may also be able to bring a claim for hand arm vibration syndrome. These include:

  • Those using tools with a hammer action for over 15 minutes at a time each day.
  • Those using industrial or commercial floor cleaning or polishing machinery.
  • Those using power tools with a rotary action (and others) for longer than one hour each day.

If you have developed the symptoms of hand arm vibration syndrome after using any of the tools, machinery, or equipment listed above, you could be eligible to lodge a HAVS compensation claim. To find out more about your eligibility and how to seek damages, contact our specialist team today.

What Can My Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Claim Include?

A common myth about personal injury claims relates to what you can actually claim for. People often think that their hand arm vibration claim will only include compensation for the actual injury itself, often leaving them out of pocket for a variety of other costs and expenses.

However, this is not the case. Those who do know that they can claim for a variety of different expenses will generally underestimate how much their expenses were and don’t apply for as high a HAVS compensation payout as they could do. When you are making a claim for compensation, you can include any of the following:

General damages – this is the type of compensation that most people will be familiar with. It compensates claimants for their physical or psychological injury. It takes into account what effect the hand arm vibration injury has had on the person’s life.

Special damages – these take into account financial implications such as loss of earnings in the form of earnings or benefits.

Medical bills – you can claim for any medical bills that you have had to pay. This could be prescription medication, private healthcare if needed, and any longer-term medical costs such as care.

Cost of travel – this could include the cost of travelling to medical appointments.

We hope that by setting these different categories out, you can see what HAVS compensation payouts may include for your accident and injury. Your final settlement will be determined by how severe your hand arm vibration syndrome injury is.

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome And Vibration White Finger Compensation Amounts

One of the most common questions which we are asked in any personal injury claim is how much compensation a person will get for their accident or injuries. Whilst there are average payouts for different types of accidents or injuries, it is difficult to say how much the average payout for HAVS is. This is because it can have a different level of effect and different severity for each claimant. As such the HAVS claim amount you could be entitled to could be very different to that which someone else is entitled to.

The reason why your HAVS claim amount may be different to someone else’s is that your settlement will account for the unique circumstances surrounding your accident as well as factors such as how it has affected your life and whether or not your ability to work or income has been affected.

In the table below, we have looked at some of the most common things which you can claim for as part of HAVS compensation claims. We have included some compensation brackets from the Judicial College to give you the best idea of how much you could be awarded for each injury.

Updated July 2021.

Type of injury Severity Settlement Notes
Hand arm vibration syndrome or vibration white finger injuries Most severe £29,690 to £36,060 The most severe injuries affecting both limbs and which prevent the sufferer from working or carrying out daily activities.
Hand arm vibration syndrome or vibration white finger injuries Severe £15,740 to £29,690 Seriously interfearing with the sufferers daily life and ability to work. Less serious than the category above.
Hand arm vibration syndrome or vibration white finger injuries Moderate £8,110 to £15,740 Less serious and pronounced effects than the previous categories. Effects will mostly be felt in colder weather and symptoms were stopped earlier.
Hand arm vibration syndrome or vibration white finger injuries Minor £2,810 to £8,110 Symptoms and effects are much more minor and won’t interfear as much on a daily basis.

Please remember that the table above is provided for illustrative purposes only and the actual amount of compensation you are awarded may differ as it could also take into account the different types of compensation listed in the section above. Each of the claims that we handle is assessed individually, and as such, you should bear this in mind when looking at these figures.

Hand Arm vibration Statistics

According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (which tracks statistics for work-related conditions such as this), there were 205 new cases of hand arm vibration in 2019. This figure continues the year-on-year decline, which we have seen in recent years through hand arm vibration statistics.

Hand arm vibration is commonly grouped together with vibration white finger and carpal tunnel syndrome, as these all affect similar parts of the body, and can be caused in similar ways. Statistics by the Health and Safety Executive show a general decline in all three of these conditions over the last decade. They also show that the number of new hand arm vibration claims has also declined each year steadily.

Men vs Women

Statistics by the HSE also show that the number of men suffering these conditions dwarfs the number of women. Between 2010 and 2019 there were a total of 5605 cases of men suffering from HAVS, whilst just 15 women were affected. This could be due to the disproportionately smaller number of women working in roles using this type of equipment.

Hand Arm Vibration Claim Case Study

This is a brief study of a hand arm vibration claim which was carried out by another solicitors firm. The details of the case have been made public.

The case involved what is thought to be one of the HAVS compensation payouts in the UK, with the claimant being awarded £118,000. The claimant had worked in demolition for his former employer for 11 years. During this time he operated jackhammers and other similar vibrating equipment. The claimant developed the symptoms of HAVS (hand arm vibration syndrome) and was eventually diagnosed with this condition. The effect on the claimant was extremely serious and had also lead to the claimant developing mental health problems such as depression.

The employer did defend the HAVS claim initially stating that they were not liable for the injuries. However, the did eventually settle the claim out of court for the HAVS claim amount of £118,000. This helps to show how having the right solicitor can help you to fight your case, and get the compensation you could be entitled to.

No Win No Fee Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Claims

There can be several challenges in making a personal injury claim, such as finding the right solicitor or having the time to carry out your claim. However, we have found that one of the biggest single factors which can put a person off making a claim is worrying about the costs of doing so.

This is why we are proud to offer our clients a no win, no fee service. This means that you can make your claim without facing any financial burden. If you make a no win, no fee hand arm vibration syndrome claim with Legal Expert, your solicitor assumes all the financial risk. They will not ask for any upfront payments to start your claim, nor will they charge you anything whilst it is being conducted. If the claim is not successful, they won’t charge you anything.

This service is also known as a ‘conditional fee agreement’ as the personal injury solicitors fee is conditional on winning your claim. If you are successfully awarded compensation, the legal fee can be deducted from this. Using this service will mean you are never out of pocket.

How We Can Help You Get The Compensation You Deserve

One of the most important parts of making any personal injury claim, such as a HAVS compensation claim, is having the right personal injury lawyer to work on your case. At Legal Expert we understand that there are a plethora of options for you when choosing a firm to work with, however, we think that we are the right choice to help you get compensation for your HAVS condition.

Our approach combines years of experience with a dedicated and compassionate approach, and our no win, no fee contract. As well as this, we can also provide help by organising a medical test to gain an impartial insight into the extent of your condition. Our services minimise your risks whilst supporting you through your claim.

Talk To Our Team Today

Once you have taken the steps we recommend above and are ready to start your hand arm vibration syndrome claim, your next step should be to contact Legal Expert. You can get in touch with our experienced team by calling them on 0800 073 8804.

If you would rather send us information about your accident and injuries, you can send us an email via office@legalexpert.co.uk, our team will then get in contact with you. You can also see our other contact information.

Contact our personal injury solicitors and start your HAVS compensation claim today.

HAVS compensation claims FAQs

Does HAVS go away? 

Once you’ve noticed the symptoms of HAVS, they’re impossible to cure. But early prevention can stop these symptoms from progressing into something debilitating.

If you find yourself struggling to feel things with your fingers, or that you’ve lost strength in your hands, this could be an early sign of HAVS. Other symptoms include a numb feeling or a tingling in your fingers, or your fingertips becoming white and then red in cold or wet conditions.

To reduce your risk of HVAS, you should always use the right tool for the job, and choose suitable low-vibration tools when possible. You should encourage blood circulation in your hands by keeping them warm and dry, stopping smoking (as this reduces your circulation) and massaging your fingers throughout the day to stimulate blood flow.

How do I know if I’m being exposed to too much vibration at work?

According to the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, your employer should be limiting the levels of vibration that you’re exposed to in order to reduce the risk of HAVS.

The EAV, or exposure action value, is the amount of exposure to vibration over which your employer should be taking action to control this exposure. For hand arm vibration, the EAV is 2.5 m/s2.   

The ELV, or exposure limit value, is the amount of vibration that should not ve exceeded by an employee on a single day. For hand arm vibration this is 5 m/s2.

Your employer should be doing more than keeping your vibration exposure below the EAV. Although this is the threshold for action to be taken, they should be doing whatever they can to keep your exposure to vibration as low as is reasonably practicable.

Helpful Links

Stress at Work Claim

If you have been affected by stress at work, find out how to best make a compensation claim with our helpful guide.

Accident At Work Claims

Have you suffered an accident at work? If so, find out how to successfully make a compensation claim using our experienced team.

Hand Injury Claims

Find out how to claim compensation for injuries and accidents affecting the hands in our claims guide.

HSE Guide To Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

A Guide to HAVS including hand arm vibration statistics produced by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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