The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires all employers to inform employees of the health and safety hazards their jobs present. However, many industrial workers in Georgia and across the country are not warned about the risk of developing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. HAVS is one of the preventable repetitive stress injuries that can cause long-term health problems.
The vibration of handheld power tools such as jackhammers, grinders, impact wrenches, chainsaws and others causes the injuries. Holding, shaking or vibrating objects frequently, or for extended periods, causes damage to the fine network of nerves and blood vessels in the arms, wrists and hands of workers. Intensive, repeated vibration also damages the arm, wrist joints and muscles.
The coming and going of numbness, tingling and the loss of feeling in the fingertips are the early symptoms of HAVS that could later become permanent. Workers can also experience Raynaud’s phenomenon, which causes the fingers to become painful and red when they are wet or cold. In the long-term, HAVS can affect an individual’s ability to handle small objects, and tasks like buttoning a shirt might become a struggle.
Georgia workers whose jobs cause the development of HAVS or other repetitive stress injuries will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, it might be challenging to prove that the condition is work-related. This is where the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney come in. A lawyer can assist with the benefits claims process to improve the chances of receiving all applicable benefits, and can also handle an appeal if the claim is initially denied.