Worker wins £25k compensation for hand-arm vibration syndrome

Derby City council has paid a worker over £25,000 for a work related condition after he was injured using a chainsaw.

The worker has been diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome, or vibration white finger as it was previously called, a serious condition caused by the prolonged use of power tools.

Derby City Council made the pay-out in 2013 but have withheld the details of the person. However, a Freedom of Information request revealed that the city had compensated the worker because of “employment liability”. The hand-arm vibration syndrome compensation, which totalled £25,620, is the largest Derby City Council have paid out since 2013.

Derby GP, Dr John Grenville said: “They would have used that chainsaw for a number of years and is very likely to have been an employee. With that amount of compensation, it would have affected him badly. It’s likely he would have lost the feeling in one of his hands. I suspect it would have been a really serious case. The seriousness of the injury is determined on the frequency of the vibrations, so in this case it would have been a lot.”

Safety requirements should have been in place warning users how long chainsaw should be used for, he added.

Dr Grenville said the condition was “probably one of the most common causes of industrial injury claims”. Formally known as vibration white finger, the title was changed to hand-arm vibration syndrome when it became known there were other symptoms in addition to white finger.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome is a chronic (long-term) industrial injury triggered by continuous use of vibrating hand-held machinery. The condition can cause tingling, loss of feeling, loss of circulation and uncomfortable throbbing, loss of dexterity or reduced grip strength. Attacks of symptoms can last up to an hour.

Campaign manager at the Tax Payers’ Alliance Harry Davis, has said the council need to put steps into place to prevent similar mistakes re-occurring.

Mr Davis said: “Councils must do everything they can to ensure their mistakes and negligence don’t result in such large bills and also root out those who are playing the system with spurious demands for taxpayers’ cash.”

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