Preventing Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome at Work

Physical labor and construction work can take a toll on manual workers. There are many workplace injuries that can develop, but one serious injury that is often overlooked is hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Workers who spend a lot of time working manually with vibrating tools and machinery are at risk of nerve and muscle damage in their hands and arms. These aliments can be severe and irreversible, possibly causing life-altering disabilities.

Since this condition can take a long time to develop, a victim is often unaware of the damage until it is much too late. For this reason, it is important that employers implement preventative measures in the workplace.

High-Risk Workers

Workers who are at risk for developing HAVS include the following:

  • Construction workers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Miners
  • Forestry workers
  • Agricultural employees
  • Automotive employees
  • Landscapers

Manual workers who routinely use vibrating tools, such as chainsaws, drills, grinders, polishers, and jackhammers, are at risk.

What are the Hallmark Symptoms Associated with HAVS?

The symptoms of HAVS include numbness, tingling, or pain in the fingers, hands, and arms. The condition is marked by damage to the muscles and nerves of the hands and arms. The condition can cause circulatory problems that restrict blood supply, which can cause fingers to become white, a symptom that is most noticeable in the cold.

How can Employers Prevent HAVS Among Workers?

Since instances of HAVS are most often associated with occupational hazards, employers should take steps to prevent exposure to vibrations emanating from work tools.

Tool mounts and vibration-damping panels insulate vibrations. Tool mounts hold the vibrating tools in place, saving the worker from having to hold or maneuver the tools. In cases where workers cannot avoid contact with the machines, panels on the casing or outer surfaces of the machines may reduce vibration exposure.

Work procedures that can alleviate some risk of injury from vibration threats include plans to alternate vibrating and non-vibrating tasks throughout the work day. Employers can also restrict total hours on vibrating tools in a single day and implement break policies.

Workers should be instructed to intermittently perform simple hand and finger exercises designed to encourage blood flow. It may be suggested that workers avoid smoking since it restricts blood flow that can contribute to other circulatory issues. Employers should also provide proper training to all employees about the dangers of vibration injuries.

What Should I Do if I Have HAVS?

If a worker develops HAVS because of workplace conditions, they are likely entitled to Workers’ Compensation. In order to determine what benefits are available, an injured employee is encouraged to speak to a lawyer. A lawyer will evaluate the case and help the worker receive necessary compensation for recovery.

Media Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Protect the Rights of Workers with HAVS

If you developed HAVS as a result of your job, you should be able to collect benefits. Our Media Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello can help you secure benefits to address the losses you have suffered as a result of your work injury. Contact us online or call us at 610-892-4940 for a free consultation. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, and West Chester.