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Hand Arm Vibration Compensation Claims

Hand Arm Vibration Compensation Claims

I. Introduction

Have you been experiencing numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and arms?  These could be signs of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), a condition caused by prolonged exposure to vibrating power tools.  If your job involves using tools like grinders, sanders, or jackhammers, you may be at risk.  HAVS can be debilitating and significantly impact your daily life and ability to work.

The good news is that if you've developed HAVS due to your work, you may be entitled to compensation.  This blog will guide you through the process of making a Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome compensation claim. If you're more interested in understanding HAVS and what your responsibilities as an employer are, then you can check out our article on that instead.

II. As an employer how can you protect yourself against HAV's claims?

Risk Assessment and Control:

  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment: Identify tasks and tools that expose workers to vibration. Measure vibration levels using appropriate equipment. A tool like spacebands will make this process easy, recording information and alerting you to workers at risk of high exposure to HAVs.
  • Implement control measures:
    • Hierarchy of Controls: Prioritise eliminating vibration exposure altogether. If not possible, minimize exposure time and vibration levels.
    • Provide low-vibration tools: Invest in newer, better-maintained tools with lower vibration ratings.
    • Rotate tasks: Regularly rotate workers between tasks to reduce exposure time per person.
    • Implement work practices: Instruct workers on proper tool usage techniques that minimize vibration. Encourage frequent breaks to allow blood flow to return to hands and fingers.
  • Maintain and monitor tools: Regularly service and maintain tools to minimize vibration. Monitor tool performance and replace excessively vibrating equipment.

Training and Information:

  • Train workers on HAVS risks: Educate them about the dangers of vibration exposure, symptoms of HAVS, and safe work practices.
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE): Offer anti-vibration gloves and other PPE as needed. Train workers on proper use and care of PPE.
  • Health surveillance: Consider offering health surveillance programs to monitor workers for early signs of HAVS.


  • Record risk assessments and control measures implemented.
  • Maintain training records for workers.
  • Document worker complaints or concerns regarding vibration exposure.

Additional Tips:

  • Seek professional advice: Consult with occupational health and safety specialists to ensure your HAVS prevention strategies are effective.
  • Stay up-to-date: Familiarise yourself with current regulations and best practices regarding HAVS prevention.

By following these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of workers developing HAVS and minimise the likelihood of facing HAVS compensation claims. Preventing HAVS is not only about protecting your workers' health but also your business from potential legal and financial repercussions.

Man using a road breaker

III. Can You Make a HAVS Compensation Claim?

Not everyone who experiences hand and arm pain is eligible for a HAVS claim. Here's what you need to consider:

  • Employer Responsibility: Your employer has a legal duty to ensure your safety at work. This includes protecting you from harmful vibration exposure. They are required to provide proper training on safe tool usage, maintain equipment to minimise vibration, and offer alternative work options when possible to reduce vibration exposure time.
  • Common Tools that Cause HAVS: If your job regularly involves using vibrating tools like:
    • Pneumatic drills, jackhammers, and grinders
    • Chainsaws and hammer drills
    • Power mowers or trimmers
    • Sanders and disc cutters and you've developed HAVS symptoms, you might have a strong case.
  • Statute of Limitations:  There's a time limit to file a HAVS claim, typically around 3 years from when you were diagnosed with HAVS or became aware you had the condition. It's important to act quickly to ensure you don't miss the deadline.

IV. How to Know If You Have a Case

While hand and arm pain can have various causes, some tell-tale signs can indicate HAVS. Here's what to watch out for:

  • Symptoms of HAVS: The most common symptoms of HAVS typically affect your fingers, hands, and forearms. They can include:
    • Tingling or numbness in the fingers, especially the fingertips.
    • Fingers turning white or red when exposed to cold or wet environments (Vibration White Finger).
    • Reduced grip strength and difficulty grasping objects.
    • Aching or throbbing pain in the hands and forearms.
    • Loss of feeling or reduced sensitivity to touch. These symptoms often develop gradually over time and can worsen with continued exposure to vibration.
  • Importance of Medical Diagnosis: If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect HAVS, it's crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible. A medical professional can diagnose HAVS through:
    • Physical examination to assess your symptoms and nerve function.
    • Hand-arm vibration testing to measure blood flow and nerve responses in your hands and fingers.
    • In some cases, additional tests like X-rays or ultrasounds might be needed to rule out other conditions.

A confirmed diagnosis of HAVS from a qualified medical professional is essential evidence for building a strong compensation claim.

Man using road breaker in street

V. The Compensation Process

Making a HAVS compensation claim can seem daunting, but help is available. Here's an overview of the process:

  • No-Win, No-Fee Agreements: Many solicitors specializing in HAVS claims offer "no-win, no-fee" agreements. This means you won't pay any legal fees upfront unless your claim is successful.  This removes the financial risk associated with pursuing compensation.
  • Evidence Needed for a Successful Claim: To build a strong case, your solicitor will need evidence like:
    • Medical records documenting your HAVS diagnosis and symptoms.
    • Employment records showing your job duties and the tools you regularly used.
    • Witness statements from colleagues who can confirm your exposure to vibration.
    • Any safety reports or complaints you previously raised with your employer regarding excessive vibration.
  • Possible Types of Compensation: If your claim is successful, you might be entitled to compensation for:
    • Pain and suffering: This compensates for the physical and emotional distress caused by HAVS.
    • Loss of earnings: This covers any income you've lost due to HAVS, including reduced earning capacity.
    • Medical expenses: This reimburses you for any medical costs associated with diagnosing and treating HAVS.
    • Future care costs: This covers anticipated costs of ongoing medical treatment or equipment you may need due to HAVS.

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the severity of your condition and its impact on your life.

VI. Average Compensation Payouts

Here are some averages for HAVS compensation claims to give you a general idea (for informational purposes only):

  • Lower Range: Claims for minor HAVS with minimal impact on daily life might see compensation between £2,300 and £8,700 (USD $2,800 - $10,500) depending on location.
  • Moderate Range: HAVS cases with moderate symptoms affecting work in cold environments could receive £6,890 to £13,360 (USD $8,300 - $16,100).
  • Higher Range: Severe HAVS significantly limiting work and affecting both arms could reach £13,360 to £38,500 (USD $16,100 - $46,500) depending on the country.

Important Notes:

  • These figures are based on examples from the UK. Compensation structures might differ in other countries.
  • These are just starting points. The severity of your HAVS, documented losses, and legal representation can significantly impact the final settlement.

Always consult a solicitor specialising in HAVS claims in your region for an accurate estimate based on your specific case.

Man in court using laptop

VII. Getting Help with Your Claim

HAVS compensation claims can be complex, and navigating the legal process alone can be challenging. Here's why seeking professional help is crucial:

  • Specialist Solicitor:  A solicitor specializing in HAVS claims will have a deep understanding of the condition and relevant legal procedures. They can assess your case, gather necessary evidence, negotiate with your employer's insurance company, and represent you in court if necessary.

  • Maximising Compensation:  An experienced solicitor knows how to build a strong case that maximises your potential compensation. They can fight to ensure you receive the full amount you deserve for your HAVS-related suffering and losses.
  • Stress-Free Process:  Dealing with a claim on top of managing your HAVS symptoms can be overwhelming.  A solicitor will handle the legalities, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.

Finding a Solicitor:

There are several ways to find a solicitor specialising in HAVS claims:

  • Recommendations: Ask your doctor, trade union representative, or colleagues who may have dealt with HAVS if they can recommend a solicitor.
  • Law Society Search: The Law Society in your region might have a search tool to find solicitors with expertise in HAVS claims.
  • Online Directories: Legal directories like [Law Society Directory] (https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk) can help you find solicitors specialising in personal injury claims, which can often include HAVS.

Remember, seeking legal advice early is vital. Don't hesitate to reach out to a solicitor to discuss your case and explore your options.

VIII. Conclusion

HAVS is a serious condition that can significantly impact your life. If you suspect you have HAVS due to work-related tool vibration exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. This blog post has provided a basic overview of the HAVS compensation process.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • HAVS is caused by prolonged exposure to vibrating power tools and can cause numbness, tingling, pain, and reduced grip strength.
  • Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from HAVS.
  • A confirmed medical diagnosis of HAVS is crucial for a strong claim.
  • Many solicitors offer "no-win, no-fee" agreements for HAVS claims.
  • Compensation may include pain and suffering, lost earnings, medical expenses, and future care costs.
  • Seeking legal advice from a solicitor specializing in HAVS claims is highly recommended.

Remember, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you're experiencing HAVS symptoms, consult a doctor and get in touch with a solicitor to discuss your case and legal options. If you're interested in this article, you may also be interested in our NIHL compensation claims article.

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