Vibration Injuries: What Construction Workers Need to Know

No matter where you work, there is a risk for injury, but some industries have higher risks than others. This includes the construction industry, where there are many different ways you can be injured or potentially even killed.

One of the issues in the construction industry that many people are unaware of is vibration injuries, which are commonly referred to as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). If you think you might be at risk for this injury, there are some things you need to know.

What Is HAVS? 

At any time on a construction site, there are employees who are using tools and equipment that send forceful vibrations through their bodies. If you are one of those employees and you are exposed to the vibrations over long periods of time, it can impact the muscles and nerve endings in your hands and fingers.

Some of the common tools that contribute to HAVS include:

  • Pneumatic drills
  • Handsaws
  • Jackhammers
  • Power drills
  • Grinders
  • Chainsaws
  • Riveters
  • Among others

How this equipment impacts your body is that it makes it hard for blood to flow into your fingers. Eventually, this can lead to decreased function and loss of feeling.

HAVS Symptoms

When it comes to the symptoms of HAVS, these can occur on a spectrum. Some people notice slight discomfort, while others experience intense pain. 

It doesn’t matter where your pain level is, if you were hurt on a worksite, you need to do what is necessary to take care of yourself. This might include talking to a lawyer to see if you are entitled to compensation. Please follow this link if you need more information about the legal aspects of being injured on a worksite.

Some of the indicators that you might have HAVS include:

  • Numbness or loss of feeling in your fingers
  • Your hands or fingers have a tingling sensation
  • Chronic pain in your hands
  • Your muscles feel weak or you don’t have the same endurance you once had

There’s also the possibility that you will have Raynaud’s phenomenon. In essence, if your hands are exposed to cold, they will turn white. After a few moments, they may turn blue. Eventually, they will turn bright red and you will experience throbbing pain.

If you also suffer from excessive hand sweating, visit this site to learn about the best hyperhidrosis treatment.

How HAVS Impacts You

As a construction worker, you rely on your hands to do your job. If you have been diagnosed with HAVS, this could have a serious impact on your ability to work.

Some of the things the physician might tell you are that you have to stop using tools that vibrate, or they may be able to prescribe medication that will keep the blood flowing through your extremities. You might also be advised to take safety precautions such as wearing vibration-resistant gloves.

Preventing HAVS

Knowing that vibration tools can cause serious health issues is the first step in preventing the problem. However, if you already have symptoms, there’s not much that can be done. Although, you might consider bringing this information to your employer so that they can put prevention measures in place to keep others safe.

Some of the things that can be done to prevent HAVS includes ensuring that equipment and tools are in proper working order, using vibration isolators or damping techniques, taking breaks for 10 or 15 minutes every hour, alternating between non-vibrating and vibrating tools and making sure tools are gripped properly.

Staying Safe at the Worksite

When it comes to your health and wellbeing, you are responsible for taking the necessary steps to stay safe. However, your employer plays a role as well. Informing them of the risks of HAVS benefits you and your coworkers. 

Steps should be taken by employers and employees alike to reduce the chances of vibration injuries occurring and taking care of those who have already been impacted.


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