A Unite member has received £7,500 in an out of court settlement after his hands were left permanently damaged by using vibrating tools at work.

The 53-year-old from Barnsley was left with the debilitating condition Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) after using vibrating tools in his job at Corus in Rotherham.

The condition means he has lost sense of touch in his hands and suffers from pain in his fingers.

HAVS is an industrial injury

HAVS is an industrial injury which affects many people who operate hand-held vibrating power tools over a number of years.

Its symptoms can differ greatly but common complaints are numbness in the fingertips, discolouration of the skin and general aches and pains in the hands, arms and fingers.

The member worked for Corus for 37 years but has now taken early retirement. He first started noticing a problem with his hands in 2006.

He was told by a specialist it was HAVS and was advised to claim compensation.

He had been exposed to a variety of vibrating tools on a daily basis including air spanners, needle guns and drills, but had never been warned about the dangers of developing the condition.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following his diagnosis he contacted his union Unite which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Corus did not admit liability but settled the claim out of court.

The member said: “My hands feel like I have three or four pairs of gloves on all the time. They are clumsy with intricate things making it difficult to do DIY. When I discovered my condition was caused by working with vibrating tools and my employers should have done more to prevent it I knew they were 100% liable as I was never warned and nothing was done to reduce the vibration from the tools.”

Davey Hall, regional secretary of Unite said: “HAVS affects many of our members working with vibrating tools. Despite regulations brought in in 2005 requiring them to do so, too many employers fail to make a proper assessment of the risk to their employees from exposure to vibration”.

Angela Davies at Thompsons Solicitors added: “Our client was exposed to vibrating tools on a daily basis. In workplaces where these types of tools are used employers are expected to properly assess the levels of vibration emitted and monitor the amount of time workers spend on the tools. The employers failure to assess and restrict usage resulted in our client developing HAVS.”