Electricity network operator CE Electric UK has agreed to pay an employee £8750 compensation after he developed hand arm vibration syndrome as a result of his work.

Deryne Hughes, 52, developed the condition as a result of overexposure to vibratory tools during his 28 years in the company’s roadworks division in Stockton-on-Tees.

His job involved digging trenches, laying cable and back filling using whackers, handrammers and Stihl saws. Later he worked as a jointer doing repair work using Stihl saws, drills and impact wrenches.

Mr Hughes first noticed his symptoms three years ago, starting with a numbness and tingling in both hands and eventually developing into cramp and pains.

Thompsons Solicitors made a Personal Injury Compensation Claim

In November 2009 he was formally diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome. He sought assistance from his union, Unite, which agreed to fund a compensation claim through personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Thompsons argued that the CE Electric UK had failed to risk assess Mr Hughes’ work, rotate his duties or limit his exposure to vibratory tools and was therefore liable for his injuries. The company quickly admitted liability and agreed to a compensation settlement.

Michael Bray from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Deryne’s employers had a legal duty to ensure he wasn’t being exposed to excessive amounts of vibration and they failed to do this, causing him painful injuries and an ongoing disadvantage in the open labour market. It’s only fair he’s properly compensated and we’re pleased to have helped bring that about.”

Laws exist to make sure workers aren’t injured

Unite regional secretary, Davy Hall said: “Health and safety laws exist to make sure workers aren’t injured on the job because of their employer’s negligence. Where employers fail to abide by these laws it’s in everybody’s interest that they are held to account. It’s times like this that it really pays to be a union member.”

Deryne Hughes concluded: “I’m annoyed that the company continued to expose me to vibration when they should have known better, but I’m happy that it’s settled and dealt with now, and that Unite and Thompsons were so quick to sort everything out.”

Mr Hughes continues to be employed at CE Electric UK in a role that does not require use of vibratory tools.