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Compensation for industrial disease hand arm vibration syndrome injury

By Stephen Bradley-Watson

Published In: Personal Injury

Switalskis recently represented a man who suffered from Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), after working with vibratory power tools for over 20 years.

Man with arm injury

Paul worked as a reinstatement operative, breaking up roads and replacing them.  He used jack hammers, Stihl saws and rammers. 

In 2016 Paul started working for an international infrastructure group (the defendant) as a reinstatement team leader using vibratory power tools.

In late 2018, Paul started suffering from throbbing symptoms in his hands when using vibratory equipment. 

The defendant arranged for Paul to undergo an assessment and its medical advisers decided that Paul was suffering from HAVS, a condition caused by excessive exposure to vibratory power tools.

Sadly, Paul’s symptoms were so painful that he was unable to continue in his job and was forced to resign.  He took up a new lower paid job as a yard man, resulting in loss of earnings.

 Paul instructed Stephen Bradley-Watson a specialist industrial disease solicitor in Switalskis personal injury team to pursue a claim for serious injuries.

After a claim was made, the defendant refused to admit that Paul was suffering from HAVS, despite their own occupational health adviser having diagnosed the condition.

The defendant also blamed Paul for his injuries, saying that Paul failed to “care for his own safety” by doing his job, which they hired him to do. 

 The defendant then employed a variety of delaying tactics concerning Paul’s claim. They failed to disclose certain documents promptly, resulting in the team at Switalskis having to make an application to court. Paul’s claim was then settled for a significant lump sum, a few weeks before the trial date.

Paul was delighted with the outcome and said: “Mr Bradley-Watson was amazing throughout the conduct of this claim, and he understood my needs”.

HAVS and are serious injuries and can terminate a person’s working life.  The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council stated that in 2004-2005 an estimated 375,000 people in Great Britain suffered a disorder of the upper limbs which they consider were work related.

Stephen Bradley-Watson comments: “I was pleased that Paul’s claim was settled, however companies should take care to make sure that workers are not exposed to life changing injuries by excessive use of vibratory tools.

 “Paul was simply carrying out the normal duties of his job and his injuries could have been avoided if only preventative steps had been taken by his employer”. 

If you've been injured at work you may be due compensation. Call and speak to our friendly personal injury specialists today. Call 01302 320621 or email


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Stephen has worked in the legal sector for 35 years. He is an Associate Solicitor in our personal injury department.

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