Leeds Man Compensated For Vibration White Finger

Vibration White Finger legal advice


A Leeds man has been awarded a £7,500 compensation payout after he contracted the industrial disease Vibration White Finger (VWF).

His award was secured with help from Mark Allen, of the Industrial Disease team at the office of national law firm Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield.

Barry Wallis, 47, Woodlesford, was awarded the sum following a claim against Insituform Technologies Ltd, based in Wakefield.

Vibration White Finger Claim

Vibratory equipment he used at work for more than 20 years resulted in the onset of Vibration White Finger, a condition caused by working with tools such as Stihl saws, Jigger picks, Chainsaws and grinders.

The disease, which is generally irreversible, caused Mr Wallis fingers to become affected by numbness, tingling and a weakness of grip.

In his role as a HGV pipe liner at Insituform, Mr Wallis was responsible for large diameter pipe lining, a procedure which involved inserting a new polyester felt pipe into an old one, to prevent excavating.

Recalling this work, Mr Wallis said: "All the underground connections from houses and storm drains had to be sealed off before the pipe was installed. I had to crawl underground and stuff the connections with foam.

"The area was then filled with heated water, to give inward pressure to press the felt tubes, which were filled with resin, together. The chemical reaction of pressing the felt and resin resulted in a cure. I then had to cut the tops off in the manholes, using road breakers, removing the resin, to get to the end of the tube. I would also regularly use a disc-cutter grinder, precision drills and a chainsaw to finish the job.

"While carrying out this work I would use Stihl saws and road breakers for at least two hours, and chainsaws and hand grinders, to remove pipe ends, for an hour."

Mr Wallis role later involved crawling underground with jiggers to de-scale pipes before lining them, because the machines could not remove the build up as quickly as a worker.

He said: "I first noticed problems with my hands around 10 years ago, when I developed a tingling sensation. This seemed to be worse in my right hand in which I also noticed numbness and a lack of feeling. I initially thought my problems were due to bad circulation and it wasn't until I saw an advert advising miners about the end of the Vibration White Finger Compensation Scheme that I realised my problems could be work-related."

Vibration White Finger lawyer

Mark Allen said: "Mr Wallis was never warned or advised about the dangers of Vibration White Finger or provided with any protective equipment. His symptoms continue to affect his ability to do his current job as a lorry driver, particularly when he has to unload in wet conditions. He has also noticed a loss of grip and strength in his forearms whilst weight training.

"This case still highlights the importance of health and safety policies. Employers have a duty of care to their staff, which includes ensuring full protective equipment is provided so workers exposure to risk is kept to a minimum."

If you or a loved one has suffered from repetitive strain injuries, such as bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathy and vibration white finger caused by conditions at work, our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.