Nevadans who work in the construction industry may use hand-held tools that vibrate, which may cause them to develop a debilitating condition called hand-arm vibration syndrome. This condition can prevent people from returning to their jobs. Workers who use vibrating tools such as jackhammers for long periods of time may develop numerous problems, including damage to their nerves, circulation, and muscles. This may lead to them experiencing numbness, tingling, and pain and cause difficulties for them to grip objects. Workers who develop these conditions may be entitled to recover workers’ compensation to pay for medical expenses. If they are disabled, they may also recover ongoing disability payments while they are unable to return to their jobs.

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Bochanis 2018 Nov What You Should Know About HAVS

What Is Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Hand-arm vibration syndrome refers to a constellation of symptoms that are caused by ongoing exposure to vibrations. When workers use jackhammers or other vibrating tools, the vibrations can damage the circulatory system, the muscles, and the nerves in the hands and the arms. It can take from six months to many years for hand-arm vibration syndrome to develop, depending on the strength of the vibrations. Once the condition is diagnosed, the damage cannot be reversed and may leave the worker with a permanent disability.

Symptoms of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome

The symptoms of hand-arm vibration syndrome include the following:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Finger discoloration
  • Muscle weakness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Temporary or permanent loss of the ability to use the hands or arms

Risks of Other Conditions

Workers who are diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome have a higher risk of developing other conditions, including Raynaud’s syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. Raynaud’s is a disease that is characterized by a loss of finger dexterity and a whitish appearance of the fingers caused by a reduction in circulation. In severe cases of Raynaud’s disease, the fingers may develop gangrene.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a narrowing of the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The narrowed passage may pinch the nerve, causing it to become inflamed. This can lead to numbness and pain in the wrists and hands that can make it difficult for people to carry out everyday activities.

Workers’ Comp for HAVS

Workers who have HAVS may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. They may recover compensation to pay for their medical care and related costs. Workers who are disabled may receive ongoing disability payments while they are unable to work.