How does it being an industrial disease affect my right to claim compensation?
Eoin P. Campbell
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor, Editor in Chief

Question:

I have heard that Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is classified as an industrial disease. How does it being an industrial disease affect my right to claim compensation?

Answer:

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (together with Vibration White Finger and Raynaud´s Syndrome) is an industrial injury which is caused by prolonged use of vibrating tools and machinery. The symptoms of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome extend from tingling and a loss of sensation in the fingers to nerve damage in the arm which results in a loss of grip strength, and if you have not already seen a doctor about your condition you should do so immediately.

Employers are bound by the European Union (EU) Directive (2002/44/EC) and Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) to eliminate the risk of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. Measures included in these regulations ensure that vibrating tools and machinery are kept in good working order, that an employee´s exposure to vibration is monitored and that a rotation of tasks with regular breaks is implemented as part of an employer´s duty to perform a risk assessment before any work with vibrating tools is undertaken.

Where an employer fails in his duty of care to his employees, and you sustain a Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome injury as a result, you are entitled to claim Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Compensation. The fact that it classified as an industrial disease has no bearing on your rights or the period of time you have in which to make your Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome compensation claim once your ailment has been diagnosed.

As a Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome can affect different people in different ways, each case is unique. You are advised to discuss your claim with a solicitor to establish first of all that you have a claim for Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome compensation, and then to enable your solicitor to compile the strongest possible case to ensure you receive fair and adequate compensation for your injury.

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