Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers Obtain Maximum Compensation For Workers Injured by Vibrating Tools
Prolonged use of vibrating tools can be hazardous to one’s health. One common example of a vibrating tool used in construction work is a drill when drilling through concrete. For construction workers, it is important to be aware of symptoms that may arise due to excess exposure to vibration.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines vibration as an object swinging to and from a position of rest. The frequency, speed, amount of exposure, and type of vibration can affect the health of the person exposed to it.
Vibration is a stressor that can cause arteries in the hands to narrow, as well as affect other muscles and bones in the body, causing severe pain.
Common construction site tools that vibrate include:
- Power hammers
- Power chisels
- Power sanders
- Hand-held grinders
- Concrete breakers
Types of Diseases Caused by Vibrating Tools
There are two types of health consequences for using vibrating tools. One type involves the fingers and hands, while the other will involve the whole body. Symptoms involving the whole body include back disorders or chronic back pain.
Symptoms related to the hands are more generally referred to as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Symptoms include numbness, tingling sensations, and loss of feeling due to damaged nerves and blood vessels in the hands and fingers.
Other diseases that affect the hands due to overexposure to vibrating tools include the following:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This occurs due to increased pressure on the major nerve in the hand, which produces pain and numbness.
Reynaud’s Phenomenon: This syndrome occurs due to the arteries and blood vessels narrowing from exposure to cold or other stress, such as vibration. The arteries thicken over time and limit blood flow to the fingers. Cold and wet weather can trigger this syndrome.
White fingers: When blood vessels that carry blood to the fingers constrict, it is hard for blood to flow to these areas, causing a lack of oxygen that leads to discoloration of the fingers.
Osteoarthritis: This occurs when there is reduced function of the muscles in the hands, wrists, and arms.
Gangrene: This occurs when an artery in the hand is completely blocked and the tissue and skin begin to die and rot. Treatment of gangrene typically involves surgically removing the affected tissue, up to and including amputation.
Effect of These Symptoms
The HAVS symptoms can result in a lot of pain for its victims. Victims frequently complain about lack of sleep due to the pain. They are also not able to do things that require fine motor skills.
Sufferers from HAVS tend to experience reduced hand strength and ability to feel and grip things. When symptoms become more severe, they may be unable to use their hands completely.
Prevention of Hand Arm Vibration Symptoms
Due to more research and growing awareness of HAVS, construction workers and employers are advised to implement protective practices to minimize and prevent these symptoms.
The following precautions are advised:
- Work Gloves. Protect the hands with gloves and that are made of heavy-duty leather or rubber.
- Monitoring Devices. Wearable devices that measure the duration and magnitude of vibration will allow workers to monitor the amount of vibration exposure they are receiving, and then limit it.
- Regular breaks. Workers should not use the vibrating tool for too prolonged a period of time. They should alternate work time between vibrating tools and other jobs that do not involve vibration.
- Temperature. Workers should not use the vibrating tools when hands are cold or wet, because the blood vessels will constrict in cold temperatures.
- Let the tool do the work. Workers should not grip the tools too tightly. Holding the tool too tightly will adversely impact the hands.
- Proper training. Workers should get proper training on how to use the tools, so that their hazardous impacts are minimized.
- Maintenance. Tools should be appropriately maintained, repaired, or replaced. Poorly maintained tools will increase hazards.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes is known for constricting blood vessels.
Construction workers should not ignore any symptoms in hands and fingers. They should consult a physician immediately to treat the symptoms before they worsen.
If symptoms are debilitating and affect your work and overall lifestyle, you may have a workplace injury claim.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Help Construction Workers Injured by Vibrating Tools
If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident, whether from a vibrating tool or otherwise, consult the Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC to help you evaluate your case and recovery options for your injuries and damages. You can contact us online or call at 215-569-8488 for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Chester County, and Delaware County, as well as across Delaware and New Jersey.