What is HAVS and why you might have a claim if you have it!?

making a vibration white finger claim

We’ve spoken before about Vibration White Finger (VWF) now known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).  It’s a condition that affects thousands of people who have worked on the tools, particularly vibrating tools, for many years.  Yet many people don’t realise that there is help and support out there if you’ve been affected by this.

Dr Sarah Jarvis (MBE) appeared recently on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 to highlight this debilitating condition.  It really showed how common and misunderstood Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome still is. So what is HAVS? Patient.info is a great resource for people in the UK needing guidance.  But here, we hope to summarise information.  This could help you if your health and life have been impacted by this.


Hand arm vibration syndrome is a condition which causes symptoms in fingers, hands or arms.  It comes as a result of using vibrating tools for a prolonged period of time. It used to be called Vibration White Finger and is related to Raynauds. The name was changed to HAVS to reflect the fact that other symptoms may occur in addition to the white fingers.

It’s usually caused by repeated, frequent use of hand-held vibrating tools.  Though it may also be caused by holding or working with machinery that vibrates.

What’s not clear is how vibration causes the condition though. It’s thought it could be due to slight but repeated injury to the small nerves and blood vessels. Over time these compound until you gradually lose some of their function and start seeing symptoms. Worryingly, it’s thought that up to one in ten who work regularly with vibrating tools may develop HAVS.


Often, a description of your symptoms and the fact that you have worked for a long time with vibrating tools may be enough to clinch the diagnosis of HAVS. However, tests are typically needed, especially if you wish to pursue a compensation claim. These tests may include things like checking your grip strength.  And you may be tested on your ability to perform hand movements,  Or the response of your fingers to the cold.

The Health and Safety Executive has a calculator that can help to gauge how much exposure you might have had to equipment that can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome.


If you’ve been diagnosed with Hand arm vibration syndrome, you could be entitled to claim compensation. If your employer was negligent in their duty and did not take necessary measures to reduce the risk of you developing the condition whilst at work. Marley Solicitors are specialists in this area and have helped many people who have been injured or had an accident at work make successful claims against those responsible. We can often work on a no-win-no-fee basis too.  So you’ve nothing to lose, get in touch today to see if we can help.