Workers’ compensation and power tools

While Pennsylvania workers are well aware of job injuries from construction equipment and exposure to hazardous materials, many are not cognizant of the dangers of exposure to vibrations. Vibrations from work equipment can be dangerous and lead to a variety of medical conditions because they disrupt the body’s ability to send oxygen and nutrients to cells. When cells are deprived of oxygen, tissues, including nerve endings, can be damaged or even die.

There are a number of tools that are known to cause hand-arm and whole-body vibration exposure, many of which are used in the construction and mining industries. Hand-arm damage often occurs due to using handheld tools such as sanders, saws, pavement breakers and drills. Most whole-body damage, which generally causes lower back injury, comes from vehicles like forklift trucks and off-road haulers.

There are a number of ways that potential harm can be prevented, including making sure that equipment is in good working order and that exposure to tools is either limited or regulated. Equipment that has been poorly maintained can produce vibration levels twice as high as new tools, and breaks or rotating schedules can lessen the amount of exposure that someone has to high levels of vibration. Additionally, proper training and advising workers of potential dangers can help them be on the lookout for symptoms and possible problems.

Those who develop a medical condition as a result of working with certain equipment, whether the injuries took place immediately or developed over time, may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits cover lost wages and medical bills and expenses related to recovering from on-the-job injuries. A lawyer can assist a client in the preparation and filing of the required claim. Call 888-99-DUGAN today!

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, “Vibration Hazards in the Workplace: The Basics of Risk Assessment”, 1 February 2015

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