A STOURBRIDGE man has received a £10,000 out of court payout after his hands were left permanently damaged by using vibrating tools at work.

Keith Rowley, aged 55, was left with the debilitating condition Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), also known as Vibration White Finger, after using vibrating tools in his job as a fitter.

His employer General Kinematics Ltd based in Kingswinford did not admit liability - but settled the claim out of court after Keith’s union, the GMB (Britain’s General Union), instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue compensation for his injury.

The condition means he suffers pain in his hands and must wear heated gloves during cold weather.

HAVS is an industrial injury which affects many people who operate hand-held vibrating power tools over a number of years.

Its symptoms can differ greatly - but common complaints include numbness in the fingertips, discolouration of the skin and general aches and pains in the hands, arms and fingers.

Keith, who still works for the company based at Dawley Brook Works, said: “I first noticed a problem with my hands six years ago. Now they turn white and become painful in cold weather and I have to wear heated gloves. I’ve worked for General Kinematics for 12 years and during that time I’ve used vibrating tools on a daily basis.”

Andrea Austin, legal administrator at the GMB said: “HAVS is a widespread hazard for many of our members working in a number of different industries and occupations where power tools are used.

“It can be a debilitating condition which can adversely affect our members both at work and at home.

“Under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 employers are required to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to health and safety to their employees arising from exposure to vibration at work.

Martin Fell at Thompsons Solicitors added: “We are pleased we have been able to settle this claim on behalf of Mr Rowley and the GMB. “Many workers see HAVS as an inevitable by-product of their work, but it is a workplace injury which can have a real affect on the sufferer’s life.

“They should have been protected against developing HAVS and as a result have a right to pursue compensation.”

No-one from General Kinematics wanted to comment.