Compensation secured for member injured at work

Unite Legal Services has secured £7,000 in compensation for a Plymouth man who developed a painful hand condition after working with vibrating tools.

Adrian Tibbs, 48, began working as a de-nibber in 2003, which involved operating hand held sanders for almost seven hours a day.

In late 2012, he began suffering from pain in his hands and reported this to his employer. After a visit to the doctor it was found that he had developed hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), a disabling condition that affects the muscles, nerves and joints in both his hands.

Adrian has since been moved to another job that doesn’t involve vibrating tools but continues to suffer pain in his elbows and hands. His employer has since changed its procedure so that de-nibbers only work on vibrating tools for a maximum of 90 minutes.

He contacted Unite Legal Services to make a compensation claim.

Adrian said: “I couldn’t fault the work of Unite Legal Services, keeping me up to speed with what was going on.

“I’d worked with vibrating tools for nearly a decade without any safety warnings, yet almost immediately after I reported the pains in my hands my employer changed procedures so that people’s time on the vibrating tools was drastically reduced. If they had made these changes sooner I might not be suffering with these pains today.”

Stuart Davies, south west region legal officer at Unite the Union, said: “While it’s positive to see that Princess Yachts International has changed its practices with vibrating tools, it should not take an injury to prompt them and such processes should be under constant review and risk assessed.

“Vibrating tools can be a cause of injury after ongoing and repeated use, but Adrian was never advised on this and has been left in near constant pain as a result. Fortunately his Unite membership meant that he was able to successfully pursue a claim and receive 100 per cent of the compensation, without deductions, whereas many high street firms can take up to 25% of the award.”