GMB member from Rumney, Cardiff has secured £3,000 compensation from Cardiff County Council following injuries caused by exposure to vibrating tools. Robert Llewellyn is a Gardener who suffered a Vibration White Finger (VWF) injury at work. VWF is also now known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). The compensation was secured through the GMB’s free legal help scheme. Personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors ran the claim on the instructions of the GMB.

Since 2000, Mr Llewellyn has been employed by Cardiff County Council’s Bereavement Services Division as a groundsman, strimmer / gardener and sexton. Between 1997-1999, he used strimmers and hand mowers on a daily basis.

Using Industrial Strimmer caused Vibration White Finger

Robert Llewellyn explained: “My job meant that I was strimming for most of the day with a 10 minute break in the morning and a 30 minute break at lunchtime. I used an industrial strimmer which weighed between 28-30 lbs, but I was never provided with any gloves. My doctors have now confirmed that this ongoing exposure has caused Vibration White Finger which means that I suffer from ongoing pain and numbness.”

Allan Garley from GMB commented: “We are very pleased with the outcome of Robert Llewellyn’s case and hope that other Councils will take note and ensure that correct health and safety procedures are in place. Clearly this settlement will assist other union members who have been exposed to vibrating tools for long periods during the course of their employment. This case shows that we are prepared to take and support legal action to protect our members health and safety at work.”

“GMB members in local government might not be aware that VWF is a condition affecting council workers as well as our members working in traditional heavy industry such as those working in the steel industry. If you regularly use vibrating tools and suffer from tingling, numbness, loss of grip in your fingers or whitening of the fingers you should take action and contact your local GMB representative.”

Jackhammers, Circular Saws, Strimmers, Mowers and Chain Saws can all cause Vibration White Finger

Representing Robert Llewellyn, Michaela Jones of Thompsons Solicitors in Cardiff, comments: “The Vibration White Finger (VWF) injuries which Robert Llewellyn is now suffering from have arisen as a result of exposure to vibration. Sadly, Cardiff County Council showed a lack of awareness of the possible implications of this condition and continued to employ him in areas where he was exposed to vibration.”

“The risk to Council workers of developing Vibration White Finger (VWF) from using vibrating tools at work is very high. This includes highway workers using jackhammers and circular saws, and those working on forestry, gardens and parks using strimmers, mowers and chain saws.”