Hand-arm vibration syndrome

Hand-arm vibration syndrome: A disorder resulting from prolonged exposure to vibration (power tools), specifically to the hands and forearms while using vibrating tools. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and loss of nerve sensitivity.

The hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is a painful and potentially disabling condition of the fingers, hands, and arms due to vibration. There is initially a tingling sensation with numbness in the fingers. The fingers then become white and swollen when cold and then red and painful when warmed up again. Cold or wet weather may aggravate the condition. Picking up objects such as pins or nails becomes difficult as the feeling in the fingers diminishes and there is loss of strength and grip in the hands. The pain, tingling, and numbness in the arms, wrists and hands may interfere with sleep.

Sources of vibration that can cause HAVS are very varied and include pneumatic drills, jackhammers, asphalt breakers, power chain saws, chipping tools, concrete vibrators and levellers, needle guns and stabblers, polishers, power jigsaws, sanders and angle grinders, riveters, compactors, power lawnmowers and even electronic games in which the hand controls vibrate

Injured workers and worker compensation are key liability issues for any business in india.

This is particularly the case for companies with large labor forces, such as information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) or industrial companies, but small businesses are also impacted by labor laws that mandate compensation for employees injured on the job.

What laws govern compensation for workplace injuries?

Compensation for workers in India varies depending on the size of the company.
If the business employees more than 20 employees, the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 applies. Under this act, employees and the company pay toward an insurance benefit in case of injury. When a workplace injury occurs, the injured employee is able to avail of both medical and financial support.

If the business employs less than 20 people, the company must refer to the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 (Previously, Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923). This act outlines methods for providing compensation to employees injured on the job. The Act is particularly pertinent to small office places and small-scale manufacturing operations.

The 2017 amendment in the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923, makes it mandatory for employers/companies to inform its employees of their rights to compensation under the Act, either in writing or electronically, in a language understood by the employee. Failing to do this, the employer is liable to a penalty of INR 50,000 (US$715), which may be extended to INR 100,000 (US$1,431).

When do employers need to compensate an injured employee?

The Act requires employers to compensate an employee who has suffered an accident while performing his/her duties during work hours, resulting into

Permanent total disability,
Permanent partial disability,
Temporary disability,

  • Permanent Total Disability
  • Permanent partial disability,
  • Temporary disability
Permanent total disability is relevant when a worker can no longer perform any of their previous duties due to an on-the-job injury. This injury must be assessed to permanently affect the employee’s ability to perform their duties.

In this case, the worker is entitled to a minimum compensation of INR 140,000 (US$2,004) or 60 percent of his/her monthly wage multiplied by a factor based on the employee’s potential future earnings. The total payment can be significantly larger based on the age of the injured employee.
When an employee has sustained an injury that renders them unable to perform their role at the same capacity for the rest of their career, the employee is entitled to permanent partial disablement compensation.

For partial permanent disability, compensation is dependent upon the nature of the injury and the employee’s loss of earning capacity. The Act includes a schedule of possible permanent disability injuries and lists the loss of earning capacity. For example, an arm amputated at the shoulder is assessed as a 90 percent loss of earning capacity, while the loss of an entire index finger is considered a 14 percent loss of earning capacity.

In cases that the worker’s injury is not included in the given schedule, employers must provide a medical doctor to perform an evaluation of the injured employee and calculate the loss of earning capacity. The compensation for the injured worker is then established based on the percent of lost earning capacity multiplied by the monthly wage multiplied by a factor based on the employee’s potential future earnings.
Employees that sustain injuries that render them disabled, permanently or partially, for a temporary period are compensated through temporary disability.

In cases of temporary disability, an injured worker will be paid 25 percent of their salary every two weeks, making monthly compensation fifty percent of total earned wages. In cases of temporary injury, a medical doctor is required to examine the injured employee and determine necessary leave. A worker on temporary disability leave must undergo a physical examination twice in the month following the injury and once during the following months if they are still claiming disability.