Vibration White Finger is caused by exposure of the hands to severe vibration from hand held equipment. As with other Industrial Diseases, there is a latency period, varying according to the individual and is inversely proportional to the severity of the vibration.
The condition involves neurological and vascular damage to the nerves and arteries. The condition is progressive and in serious cases, tissue can become necrotic, causing amputations. The skin of the fingers usually goes pale first, then bluish, and finally a dull red, as the circulation returns. The fingers may burn or tingle rather than being painful.
Clearly, some people will be more susceptible than others, so there is no safe “dose”.
The following industries are some of the most susceptible to Vibration White Finger injuries among their workforce:
- Railways Workers
- Construction Workers
- Forestry and Parks Management Workers
- Foundry Workers
- Heavy Engineering workers
- Manufacturing Workers
- Mine and Quarry Workers
- Car Manufacturers and Mechanics
- Public Utilities Workers
- Gas Pipeline Workers
- Road Workers
Vibration White Finger (or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome) affects different people in different ways depending upon a number of factors including amount of vibration exposure, temperature of the working environment and any pre-existing conditions the sufferer may have.