Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Hand-Arm Vibration SyndromeNovember 10, 2016
Employees who work with vibrating tools or machinery on a regular basis can develop nerve damage, resulting in a tingling, or numbness in the hands and fingers. This condition, known as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), can lead to permanent numbness and muscle weakness if the individual continues to use vibrating tools over time. Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers remind employees who develop this condition as a direct result of their job that they are most likely eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
HAVS occurs as a result of repeated and ongoing use of vibrating tools like power drills, chainsaws, or tools that use high-frequency vibrations. These injuries are made up of three subgroups, including the following:
- Neurological Injuries: Typical early symptoms include a tingling and/or numbness in the hands and fingers. If symptoms go unchecked, and the condition worsens, the patient may experience limited dexterity and weakened responsiveness. Extreme nerve damage is irreversible. A patient may begin to drop things, and have difficulty with simple tasks such as pouring a glass of water. At this point, work becomes very difficult, resulting in a high level of disability.
- Vascular Injuries: When the capillaries in the hand and fingers constrict, it can cause blanching, or episodes of whiteness. When this happens, the restriction of blood circulation to the fingers and hand results in numbness in the areas that have turned white. Also referred to as “secondary Reynaud’s disease,” this condition can be very uncomfortable, especially when the blood begins to re-circulate, causing tingling and pain.
- Musculoskeletal Injuries: These injuries include arthritis, tendonitis, and changes in muscle fibers. Patients often experience a reduced grip strength, impaired mobility and pain in the hand, fingers, and arm. While routine tests may not indicate an injury, muscle biopsies have shown significant damage to muscle fibers.
Prevention Against HAVS
Steps can be taken to prevent HAVS for workers, including:
- Keeping a loose grip on tools and changing grip position regularly
- Keeping tools in good working order
- Making sure you are using tools correctly based on the job you are doing
- Taking regular, 10-minute breaks from using the tool
- Not smoking, as it affects blood flow
If your symptoms worsen and it is affecting your ability to work, report your concerns to your employer, and see your doctor. You should also consider filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Employees With HAVS
If symptoms related to hand-arm vibration syndrome are preventing you from being able to perform your job responsibilities, you are urged to contact the experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will address any concerns you might have and walk you through the claims process, ensuring that you receive the financial compensation you deserve. For a free case review, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.