Thompsons Solicitors has won £60,000 compensation for a young father who was forced to give up his skilled trade as a panel beater because of a serious industrial injury.

Ben Wright, 29, from Heywood in Greater Manchester has Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) which can affect many people who use hand-held vibrating power tools over a number of years.

The symptoms of HAVS can differ greatly for each sufferer but common complaints are numbness in the fingertips, discolouration of the skin and general aches and pains in the hands, arms and fingers.

There are precautions that employers can take to reduce the risk.

Prolonged exposure to Vibrating Tools

Ben had prolonged exposure to vibrating tools while working for UK Assistance, owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

He started with the company as an apprentice panel beater when he was 16. He repaired cars which had been damaged in road accidents and used powerful vibrating tools on a daily basis.

He first started showing mild symptoms of HAVS in 2002 but was unaware of the significance. By 2005 his condition deteriorated and he was told by doctors he could no longer work in his chosen career.

Since that time he has continued to work for UK Assistance in a number of temporary roles and was eventually retrained as an estimator.

Earning Capacity has reduced due to Injury

Ben, who has two young children, contacted Thompsons Solicitors’ Manchester office to pursue a claim for compensation.

RBS admitted that Ben's injury occurred due to their negligence. At a court hearing damages were agreed and awarded in the sum of £60,000.

He said: “My earning capacity has been dramatically reduced by this injury and I can no longer use vibrating tools or work in my skilled trade. I have a young family and I decided to pursue compensation so I could make sure I could continue to provide for them.

“I had never heard of HAVS before I was diagnosed and was never been warned about the risk of injury from using vibrating power tools. If I had perhaps my injury could have been prevented.”

Mike Duffy from Thompsons Solicitors added: “HAVS is a common industrial disease for those working with power tools however, many people do not realise it can affect workers of all ages.

“Ben has a long working life ahead of him. His career prospects and earning capability has been adversely affected by his injury. It is only right he is compensated by RBS for their negligence. It is the duty of employers to ensure employees are properly trained and protected against this risk of injury arising from the use of vibrating equipment.”