Vibration White Finger – Guide


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What is vibration white finger?

Vibration white finger is a condition caused by the frequent use of vibrating tools over a long period of time. The condition is also often referred to as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome – or HAVS – as the effects are often not just limited to the fingers but to the hands and arms as well.

What causes vibration white finger?

The regular use of hand-held vibrating tools like power drills and concrete breakers subjects your hands to a high frequency of repetitive movements and impact. Over time this can cause damage to the nerves in the hands, arms and fingers.

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Vibration white finger symptoms

An early sign of Vibration White Finger developing is numbness and/or a tingling sensation in one or more fingers. If this is causing some difficulty in carrying out everyday tasks link handling coins or doing up buttons, then you may be in the early stages of Vibration White Finger.

Usually one finger will begin to turn white and start to ache. As the condition sets in and progresses, fingers turning white will become a more common occurrence. In some cases fingers can turn white on a permanent basis and continue to ache.

Vibration white finger treatments

Unfortunately, once the damage to the nerves in the fingers, hands and arms is done, there is no cure or treatment for it. However there are certain measures you can take to help alleviate the condition and prevent it from getting worse, such as:

  • Stop using vibrating tools
  • Stop smoking – this is known to make the condition worse
  • Regularly exercise your hands and body to improve blood circulation
  • Keep warm (especially the hands) and avoid cold triggers

How to reduce the risks of vibration white finger

As well as taking the above measures to alleviate the condition, there are also steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing vibration white finger altogether….

HAVS risk assessment

Employers are advised to carry out a HAVS risk assessment to identify which of there employees are at risk of developing vibration white finger/HAVS. They should then determine what needs to be done to comply with the law and what measures they should take to protect their employees from developing the condition.

Also, if any circumstances change within the workplace then the employer has a responsibility to complete the HAVS risk assessment again and carry out regular reviews of the risk in order to make sure everything that can be done is done to prevent white finger from occurring int he workplace.

Employees can also take precautions to help reduce the risk of developing vibration white finger. These can include:

  • Using low vibrating tools
  • Making sure they always use the right tool for the job
  • Making sure all tools are correctly maintained and repaired
  • Ensuring that all cutting tools are kept sharp
  • Reducing the amount of time a particular tool is used for

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