2005 Volume 43 Issue 3 Pages 527-534
In the United Kingdom the diagnosis of Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome varies depending on the purpose of that diagnosis. The criteria differ in three situations. More than 100,000 miners and ex-miners with claims for HAVS have been examined using a Medical Assessment Process which included the use of standardised tests. This contract is unique but it has had significant effects on the two other processes. The Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Scheme provides a benefit that can be paid to an employed earner because of an accident or Prescribed Disease. New recommendations have been published to remove the anomalies in the present format for assessing HAVS. If implemented the new scheme will recognise the Stockholm Workshop Scales and workers with neurological problems will also be compensated. The Health and Safety Executive will issue new guidance in the near future on the hazards of hand-arm vibration. Health surveillance in the workplace will be fundamental and the HSE propose a tiered approach with levels 1 to 5. Specialist occupational nurses and doctors with training in the diagnosis and assessment of HAVS will be needed for levels 3 and 4. Only at this level may a diagnosis of HAVS be made. The Medical Assessment Process has demonstrated that it is possible to examine a large number of claimants in a standardised manner. The IIAC and HSE recommendations contain very important improvements on the existing positions in the UK and it must be hoped that they will be implemented in the near future.