Pennsylvania professions like construction require workers to regularly use power tools. However, this can lead to serious nerve injuries.
The dangers of continuous vibration from power tool use
Construction work and other professions that require regular use of power tools can be dangerous. This type of equipment increases the risk of hand injuries due to the vibration workers experience. Nerve damage can occur over time and cause workers to experience a variety of symptoms that make it difficult or even impossible to continue working. When this occurs, it’s common for a worker to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
The most common first sign of a problem is hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), which causes pain, numbness and tingling. This condition is also known as vibration white finger.
What is vibration white finger?
Vibration white finger (VWF) is a medical condition that affects the blood vessels. Usually, it affects the extremities and causes pain and loss of sensation and dexterity in the hands of individuals who have had continuous exposure to vibration through the use of power tools.
Symptoms of VWF include the following:
- Numbness of the fingers
- Tingling in the fingers and hands
- Loss of strength in the arm or hand
- Whiteness of the fingertips
- Thumb pain while trying to grip
- Difficulty picking up objects
- Weakness in the muscles of the hand
Workers who suffer from the condition are likely to need time off to recover. VWF is also more common in colder areas. It can affect construction workers, miners, auto assembly and repair professionals and those who work in the forestry industry.
There is no cure for VWF, but it can be treated by managing the symptoms. The condition is progressive, which means it could take years before a person realizes they are affected by it.