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Vibration White Finger (VWF) is an industrial injury caused by exposure to hand transmitted vibration associated with the use of vibrating power tools. It can result in symptoms of discomfort, tingling, numbness and whiteness in the fingers when exposed to the cold. Employers will not be held liable by a VWF solicitor for injury caused as a result of exposure to vibration before 1971 which is the nominal date that all employers were or should have been aware of the dangers posed to their employees by vibrating tools.

Our VWF solicitors operate nationwide and deal with vibration white finger compensation claims using the no win no fee* scheme. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. If after talking to our VWF solicitors you decide not to take matters further then you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged for our advice on VWF compensation claims.

Vibration White Finger

VWF is a condition caused by the repeated use of vibrating hand-operated machinery, such as hammer drills, sanders, jigsaws and concrete breakers. It is a secondary form of Raynaud's Disease, which is a condition that affects all extreme body parts, such as the fingers, toes, ears and nose. Among the symptoms caused are numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers, as well as crippling pain. The thumb remains mostly unaffected. The symptoms caused by VWF can seem to come and go, but the overall condition will progress and worsen over a period of years. Those who suffer from this vibration injury will almost certainly be able to instruct a VWF solicitor to make a personal injury compensation claim.

VWF Symptoms

Exposure to significant vibration can give rise to symptoms of tingling in the hands and aching in the wrists and muscles of the forearm. Further symptoms of numbness and lack of sensitivity of the fingers can also occur. The greater and more frequent the exposure, the more severe will be the VWF symptoms. Attacks of whiteness at the tips the fingers may occur when exposed to the cold which is caused by a restriction in the blood flow. When the blood supply returns, the hands and fingers can then go red and be accompanied by painful tingling which can last for up to an hour.

Causes & Diagnosis

VWF is mainly caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures whilst using vibrating hand-operated machinery, but it is also affected by factors such as smoking and stress. The condition cannot be treated, and upon diagnosis the sufferer should immediately cease using any form of vibrating machinery that is operated by hand. Diagnosis of VWF is normally carried out by a specialist in musculoskeletal conditions, and normally a history of using vibrating equipment will be present.

Permanent Damage

There is little effective treatment once vibration white finger has developed. The body and hands should be kept warm which may help to maintain a good blood flow to the fingers and may reduce the risk of discomfort. Once damage to the nerves or nerve fibres has occurred there is no means of repair. As the damage to the fingers in VWF is permanent it means that vibration white finger compensation claims can attract substantial damages awards.

High Risk Tools & Equipment

Tools likely to cause VWF include :-

  • percussive tools e.g. riveting, caulking, fettling and swaging
  • grinders including pedestal and hand-held grinders
  • pneumatic drills and hammers, including percussive and rotary hammers
  • chain saws and other garden machinery

To succeed in a vibration white finger compensation claim it is necessary to show that :-

  • the injured person is suffering from a vibration injury
  • the injured person's condition has been caused by the employment
  • the employer knew or ought to have known that there was a risk of the person suffering from a vibration injury from the work that he performed
  • the employer failed in his duty to take care of the employee by preventing or reducing the exposure to vibration.

Employers Duty of Care

VWF is a condition associated with industry and companies have a duty to their staff to protect their health. All vibrating machinery can be measured to determine its safety. Factors taken into consideration include how much the machine vibrates, the temperature that the machine is operated in and the duration of use of the machine. To reduce the risk of conditions like VWF, employers can consider whether a different tool could be used for the task, maintain high levels of machine maintenance and use low vibration tools where possible. Employees can take a pro-active step towards preventing the condition by massaging their fingers to help improve blood circulation, and storing tools correctly so that they do not have cold handles.


Compensation includes �General Damages� which represents compensation items that are difficult to calculate accurately and include �pain and suffering� , loss of the enjoyment of life and disadvantage on the open labour market. In addition a claim can be made for �Special Damages� which represents compensation for losses that can be accurately calculated and may include;

  • medical charges
  • loss of earnings
  • assistance for household chores
  • care and assistance
  • medical therapies
  • traveling expenses
  • expenses
  • aids and equipment
  • adapted accommodation and transport

VWF Solicitors

Our VWF solicitors have detailed experience in dealing with vibration white finger compensation claims and they are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts. Our vibration white finger solicitors will initially assess your claim at no cost to you and will then deal with your claim using the risk free no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement, to help you get the compensation you deserve. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. If you would like free advice on VWF compensation claims just use the helpline or complete the contact form or email our offices and a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts will speak to you on the telephone with no further obligation.



*Legal Information

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here