A fitter for car manufacturer Ford has received £8,500 in compensation after his hands were left permanently damaged by using vibrating tools at work.

Anthony Barry, 61, from St Helens was left with the debilitating condition Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), also known as Vibration White Finger, after using vibrating tools in his job as a toolmaker for Ford Motor Company Ltd in Halewood.

The condition means he suffers pain in his hands.

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.

Anthony took early retirement from Ford nine years ago and now works as a visitor assistant for National Museums Liverpool.

Fingers turned white on cold winter days

He first noticed symptoms in 2005 when his fingers turned white on cold winter days.

He said: “I worked with Ford for 33 years and during that time I used a number of different vibrating tools every day. I was never warned about the dangers of developing this condition. I met some former work colleagues in 2005 who told me it was HAVS. I went to the doctor who confirmed the condition.”

Jayson Sloss, PCS negotiations officer for National Museums Liverpool said: “HAVS can be a debilitating condition which affects sufferers both at home and at work. Mr Barry no longer uses vibrating tools at work but he is still suffering the effects of years of exposure to vibration.”

Lisa Gormley at Thompsons Solicitors added: “Under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 employers are required to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to health and safety to their employees arising from prolonged use of power tools.

“Mr Barry should have been protected against developing this condition. It is a workplace injury which he will have to endure the rest of his life.”

This news story was also published by the St Helens Star.