£14,000 awarded for hand arm vibration syndrome

A 62-year-old man was awarded £14,000 for suffering hand-arm vibration syndrome after years working as a polisher and fitter.

Injury and Progression

The Claimant worked for the Defendant for almost 16 years as a polisher and fitter. During this time he used vibrating machinery on a regular basis, in particular a polishing machine. As a result the Claimant developed HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome). Symptoms were permanent. Symptoms included tingling and numbness in the Claimant's left hand.

The symptoms which were usually worse in colder weather effected the Claimant's dexterity. On the Stockholm scale (a scale used to measure the severity of symptoms of Hand-arm vibration syndrome), the Claimant scored 2SN, 1V in two of his fingers on his left hand. The Claimant had no symptoms in his right hand.

Liability

Liability was admitted by the Defendants. It was admitted that the system of work had been unsafe. The Claimant had been exposed to excessive vibration due to having to use a polishing machine. He did this on a regular basis throughout his time working for the Defendant.

It was known throughout the industry that continued exposure to vibration could cause Hand-arm vibration syndrome. It was accepted that insufficient steps were taken by the Defendant to limit the Claimant's exposure. Continuous use of the belt-driven polishing machine had caused the Claimant's condition.

Settlement

The Claimant's and Defendant's solicitors entered into negotiations to try reach a settlement. No agreement could be reached. The Claimant therefore commenced court proceedings. A Judge at Trial awarded the Claimant the total sum of £14,000. of this sum £7,000 was for the Claimant's pain suffering and loss of amenity.

The balance of the settlement was awarded when the Judge found that the Claimant would be at a disadvantage if he tried to find another job because of his permanent condition. This was even though the Claimant had left the Defendant's employment. He had taken a redundancy from the Defendants on a voluntary basis.