Some of you may be thinking what is ‘white finger‘? Well it’s an industrial injury also known as vibration white finger that is caused by extended use of vibrating hand held machinery and is a secondary form of Raynaud’s disease.
The symptoms of the condition consist of episodic blanching of your fingers which is a response to cold, which literally means you get white fingers. Other symptoms include tingling, numbness and pain in your fingers. But for some reason the thumb seems to be left out of the condition.
In the worst case scenario, you may lose your fingers from it. The effect is cumulative with symptoms sometimes appearing and disappearing but the condition always getting worse with time. The condition may become permanent if the exposure to the vibrations happens over months and years.
To help stop people getting the condition codes of health and safety state that workers exposed to vibrations should be assessed to avoid prolonged exposure. There are levels of time that it is suggested are safe for a worker to use. It should also be taken into consideration that using a tool that vibrates at a low level but for a long time can be just as bad as a tool that vibrates a lot for a short amount of time.
Managing risk for tools is fairly straightforward as all tools have figures for daily exposure levels so that companies can factor this into work schedules.
Problems occur when workers and companies ignore these guidelines and exposes themselves to above the recommended amounts of exposure.
The legislation also is intended to try and convince tool makers to make better designed tools that will have better vibration exposure levels.