LEGAL EAGLE: Exploring the legal issues of a prescribed hand disease
Dupuytren Contracture Disease is now a prescribed disease, but what is it? Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s Personal Injury Solicitors in Hartlepool explain.
On 19th September 2018 the Social Security (Industrial Injuries) (Prescribed
Disease) Amendment Regulations 2019 were tabled in Parliament and these came into force on the 9th December 2019.
On their passing they brought into the spotlight a new prescribed disease following the use of vibrating tools at work namely, Dupuyten Contracture.
Mark Ellis of Tilly Bailey & Irvine sees a new trend of vibration induced disease claim emerging in addition to the existing claims for damage caused by exposure to vibration namely HAVS/VWF and Vibration Induced CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).
For those unfamiliar with the condition Dupuyten Contracture, it is a deformity of the hand (more specifically the ring and little fingers) which is caused by the hardening of the fibrotic tissue in the palm of the hand which causes the ring or little fingers (or sometimes both) to contract inwards and unable to be straightened.
The link between vibration exposure and the condition is not clear cut. It has been debated for some time and was put into focus by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council in 2006 when some link was thought to exist. It is interesting that even today the NHS website does not refer to the use of hand held tools, be they vibratory or not, as being a possible cause of the condition.
However, in 2014 the Industrial Advisory Council commissioned a report which
ultimately concluded that the use of vibratory tools at work more than doubled the risk of the development of the condition and therefore recommended that
Dupuytens Contracture become a prescribed disease for the purposes of Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit.
In 2017 the Government turned down the recommendation. It transpired subsequently that a meeting was requested by the Industrial Injuries Advisory
Council to discuss the issue further at which the Government was finally persuaded to endorse the original recommendation. Against that now Section 2(3) of the Social Security (Industrial Injuries) (Prescribed Disease) Amendment Regulations 2019 formally confirms that Dupuyten Contracture is a prescribed disease and the Social Security (Industrial Injuries) (Prescribed Disease) Regulations 1985 have been amended accordingly.
Mr Ellis does now find that those individuals who previously found that their claims for Dupuyten Contracture could not be pursued can now be pursued on the same basis as those claims of HAVS/VWF/Vibration Induced CTS.
If you believe that you may have a claim call Mark Ellis and the Hartlepool personal injury solicitors at Tilly Bailey & Irvine on 01429 264101.