Former Demolition Worker Receives £118,000 Settlement For Hand Arm Vibration Injury

Specialist industrial injury solicitors secure one of the highest settlements for HAVS in the UK

17.12.2013

Former demolition worker, Thomas Feerick-Kenny from Birmingham suffers from debilitating Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) after operating a variety of hand-held vibrating tools, when he worked for national demolition firm, DSM Demolition Limited between 2000 and 2011.

Thomas Feerick-Kenny, 41, instructed specialist workplace injury solicitors at law firm Irwin Mitchell who secured him a £118,000  settlement from his former employers for his pain, suffering and because he can no longer continue to work in his trade. This is believed to be one of the highest recorded claims settlements for HAVS in the UK.

Thomas regularly used Jack Hammers, Trimming Hammers and Stihl Saws whilst carrying out demolition contracts around the Midlands. He developed painful symptoms affecting both hands, including attacks of whitening, tingling and loss of sensitivity in his fingers. He was diagnosed with HAVS in March 2010 and despite reporting his symptoms to his employers on numerous occasions, DSM Demolition failed to take sufficient steps to improve his work conditions.

Thomas developed significant psychiatric symptoms of depression and anxiety as a result of his painful condition and inability to properly perform his role.  These symptoms worsened when DSM Demolition dismissed him from his position on the grounds of ill health capability in June 2011.

Recent figures released by the Construction Skills Network analysed by vibration management specialist Reactec found that almost 659,000 British construction workers could be at risk of developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome and identified plant operatives and mechanics as being most at risk of being diagnosed with HAVS.

Commenting on the case, Thomas said: “I gave over 10 years service to DSM and hardly missed a day’s work in that time but when I first developed my injury and reported it to the company they ignored me. I knew my condition was serious so I turned to Irwin Mitchell and they supported me every step of the way, providing initial advice about my condition, explaining my options and assisting me with my benefit applications.

“Mark Lennon explained all the issues in clear terms. His knowledge and understanding was always reassuring and helped me through my legal battle.  I am delighted the case has concluded and am very pleased with the settlement.

“I loved working in the demolition trade and I miss being out on site. It is upsetting that I can never return to this type of work.  I now want to turn a corner and move on with my life.  I will use my compensation to help me get back into work and retrain. I left school with no formal qualifications and now I am going to BITA Pathways in Birmingham who are helping me with my literacy and numeracy qualifications.

“Through time I would like to build up enough qualifications to take up a health and safety role so I could use my experience to make sure employers protect their workers from suffering injuries like my own.”

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.