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Understanding hand-arm vibration syndrome, a construction injury

by | Jan 22, 2021 | Construction Workers Accidents

Most construction workers in New Jersey already know that they are at risk for serious injury when they clock in for work. From working on scaffolds to using large equipment, there is potential for many different types of injuries to occur. However, there is one surprisingly common injury that a lot of construction workers might not know about — hand-arm vibration syndrome.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome — also known as HAVS — is a type of vibration injury. These injuries are usually caused by equipment and tools that send powerful vibrations through users’ bodies. Some of the construction tools that are most commonly associated with HAVS include:

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

When a construction worker is exposed to these forceful vibrations over a significant period of time, they can cause damage to nerve endings and muscles in his or her fingers and hands, resulting in HAVS. Victims with HAVS have diminished blood flow to their fingers, which often causes loss of feeling and decreased function. The symptoms exist on a spectrum, from mild discomfort to intense pain. Victims’ hands will frequently turn white or blue when exposed to cold temperatures, too.

Living with chronic pain and diminished functioning can be devastating, especially for those who have committed their careers to working with their hands. Getting treatment as soon as possible is often essential for addressing these types of lifelong injuries. However, treatment for this type of construction injury can be expensive, and victims should explore their options for securing benefits through New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system.