Hundreds of workers in the construction industry could soon be in line for £60 000 payouts for "white finger", an industrial injury caused by operating vibrating machinery.

Transport and General Workers Union construction secretary Bob Blackman congratulated the government on its landmark decision to offer coal miners with the condition a £500m compensation package, from which some miners can expect to receive payments of £60 000.

He said there would now be strong pressure to offer equivalent compensation to construction operatives with the same condition.

Blackman said: "It's an extremely important precedent. We've been concerned for some time about the low level of compensation to construction workers for what is an extremely painful problem." The union has hundreds of claims pending and Blackman believes the publicity given to the miners will result in others coming forward.