Thompsons Solicitors has secured damages for a plater whose hands were permanently damaged from using vibrating tools.

The 53-year-old, from Northallerton has Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), a condition which can affect people who use hand-held vibrating power tools over a number of years.

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

There are steps that employers can take to reduce the risk.

Thompsons Solicitors helped with claim for compensation

He was exposed to vibrating tools while working for Severfield Reeve Structures at Dalton Airfield, Thirsk where he works as a plater on the factory line.

He first started showing mild symptoms of HAVS in 2006 but wasn't diagnosed until 2007. The factory brought in anti-vibration pads to the tools in 2007 reducing the level of vibration significantly.

After he was diagnosed he contacted his trade union, the GMB, which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Severfield Reeve Structures admitted liability and settled the claim for £18,000.

HAVS is a well known risk for workers exposed to excessive levels of vibration from tools

He said: “Although since I joined Severfield in 1998 I've worked with vibrating tools most days I didn’t realise the danger they represented. My hands often go white and numb in the winter time and I have to keep them as warm as I can.

"I was never told about the risks until in more recent years when we've received training and steps were taken to reduce the level of vibration but by then it was too late.”

Tim Roache from the GMB said: “HAVS is a well known risk for workers exposed to excessive levels of vibration from tools. Employers have no excuse not to take the dangers into account when planning work. Our member unfortunately had an employer who didn’t do so until it was too late.”

John Gibson from Thompsons Solicitors added: “The risk of HAVS is significantly reduced if the correct measures are taken. Severfield failed to ensure that this employee was properly trained and protected against that risk and he has paid the price for that with his health.