A young man from Doncaster who claims he was forced out of his job after vibrating tools permanently damaged his hands has been paid substantial compensation with the support of his trade union Unite.

Dean Grice, aged 34, from Doncaster, was employed by MSI Forks Ltd, a local firm which manufactures large steel forks for fork lift trucks. He had worked for the firm since 1997 as a crack tester at the firm’s site in Balby. His job required him to grind out defects on the forks using pencil grinders and angle grinders - tools which vibrated in his hands. As a result, he has developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) – a painful condition which causes the fingers to go white and numb, as well as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which also leads to numbness, tingling and pain in the fingers.

Mr Grice brought his claim for compensation with the support of Unite’s personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors. As a result, MSI Forks Ltd must now pay him £30,000 damages.

Dean Grice is relatively young to suffer from such conditions and was shocked and disappointed that he had to change jobs as a result and at a time when he had a young family to support financially.

Vibration White Finger

He explains: “It was my GP who told me that I had symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and he referred me to the Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Sadly my employer refused to re-deploy me to a job where I wouldn’t be exposed to vibration so I had no choice but to resign.”

“I’m now an HGV driver but I earn a lot less than I did at MSI. It’s very tough when you have a wife and child to support. I’ve had to have time off work to have decompression surgery on both hands which has only partially relieved some of my symptoms.”

Davey Hall, Regional Secretary, Unite comments: “This is a substantial settlement and we are very pleased for Dean Grice. This is not the first time that an employee of MSI Forks Ltd has suffered from Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. We hope that it will now force them to ensure that correct health and safety procedures are in place.”

Representing Dean Grice, Simon Wood, from Thompsons Solicitors in Sheffield comments: “Dean Grice continues to suffer pain in both his hands and this has impacted his day to day life as well as his employment prospects. Like Dean Grice, the risk to many workers from using vibrating tools at work is very high. We would urge anyone else suffering from Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome – or Vibration White Finger as it used to be known - to contact Unite and pursue a claim.”