Since the mid 1970s most employers have been aware that the use of hand held vibrating tools can cause damage to their employee’s fingers. Furthermore, Employers have a responsibility to protect their employees from Vibration White Finger injuries. They must provide you with the necessary tools to carry out your job and employers have a legal obligation to provide safe working conditions for their employees.
Certain tools create excessive vibration when they are used. In particular pneumatic drills, jigger picks, kango hammers, grinding tools, needle guns, descaling guns, windy guns and nut runners amongst others are all recognised as producing excessive vibration and these could develop into VWF (Vibration White Finger).
Symptoms of Vibration White Finger include:
- Tingling and numbness in the fingers
- Not being able to feel things properly
- Loss of strength in the hands
- Fingers going white
- Fingers becoming red and painful
- Pain, distress and sleep disturbance
- Inability to do fine work
- Reduced grip strength
The results of using these tools over long periods of time whilst not life threatening can result in extreme pain, inability to do simple tasks like picking up coins or fastening buttons, the inability to do fine work and painful finger blanching.