If a HAVS has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a condition affecting workers who use vibrating tools.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by HAVS, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation for medical and disability expenses, modifications in work practices, and potentially a change in your profession.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that nearly 2 million people in the UK are at risk of developing Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome.
The vast majority of industrial disease claims for Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome are caused by the regular use of hand-operated vibrating power tools in the workplace.
If you decide to make a Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Am I entitled to make a hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) claim?
If you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, you will be able to claim compensation.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
Is a claim still possible if I am partly liable?
Ascertaining who is liable for an accident is not always straightforward and can often involve blame on both sides.
In our 2023 Work Injury Claimant Survey, 26.02% of injured workers said they either were unsure of which party was responsible, or believed they were partially responsible for their injuries.
You could still have a valid claim if you were partly to blame for your injury. Employers may be also be held responsible under vicarious liability for injuries caused by employees, making a claim possible if you or a colleague caused your injury or illness.
How long do I have to start a hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) claim?
An injury claim will usually need to be made within 3 years of the date or your accident or injury.
You may still be able to claim compensation if you were injured by another's negligence and you only discovered it later. Generally, the clock starts ticking from the date you were diagnosed or became aware of your injury.
For injured children, a claim can be started by a parent or guardian at any time before they turn 18. Thereafter, the injured individual has until their 21st birthday to make a claim on their own.
Symptoms of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome
Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is the result of damage to the nerves, blood vessels and joints of the hand, wrist and arm.
Compensation is calculated based on the severity of the condition, the likely development of future symptoms. The impact that the symptoms have had (and are likely to have in future) on your life is also taken into account.
Symptoms of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome can include:
- Intense tingling and numbness in the fingers
- Loss of feeling sensation in the fingers
- Loss of strength in the hands
- Tips of fingers turn white, then red, in cold and wet weather and are painful on recovery (this is also known as Vibration White Finger)
Making a Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome claim
Under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 employers have a responsibility to protect their employees. The Regulations place a duty on employers to minimise the risks associated with hand-operated vibration power tools and machinery.
Under the Regulations, employers should take steps to reduce the risk to employees of developing Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, such as:
- Giving workers regular breaks from using vibrating tools and machinery
- Providing protective anti-vibration gloves
- Maintaining a reasonable workplace temperature
- Providing the right tools for the task
- Providing training on the correct use of vibration tools and machinery
HSE figures show that new cases of work-related Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome have fallen since the Regulations came into effect.
If an employer is proven to have breached the Regulations, they may be held liable in a Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome compensation claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome
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General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your HAVS such as removal from exposure, pain medication, physiotherapy and assistive devices.
Average Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome general damages compensation
The following Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)|
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)||Minor||Minor symptoms||£2,720 to £7,850|
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)||Moderate||Minor symptoms in cold weather||£7,850 to £15,240|
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)||Serious||Year-round symptoms||£15,240 to £28,760|
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)||Severe||Affecting both sides in a younger person causing a change in job||£28,760 to £34,940|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)||Minor||Minor symptoms||£2,720 to £7,850|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)||Moderate||Minor symptoms in cold weather||£7,850 to £15,240|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)||Serious||Year-round symptoms||£15,240 to £28,760|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)||Severe||Affecting both sides in a younger person causing a change in job||£28,760 to £34,940|
Employers' liability claims claims
Work-related illness claims are also known as employers' liability claims. Click on the icons below for more information:
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About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.