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Workplace vibration injuries in California

Workers who utilize handheld power tools as a part of their regular job duties are at risk from suffering vibration injuries over time. Such vibration injuries can lead to a loss of feeling in the hands, a lessening of the ability to grip and other debilitating problems. Vibration injuries may also cause lower back problems and other associated issues if the injury is a whole-body one.

Many people are familiar with a common type of vibration injury called carpal tunnel syndrome, which may result from the repetitive vibrations caused by power tool use. Severe vibration injuries may require amputation to an extremity due to cellular death in the affected area.

The problem of vibration injuries is they reduce blood flow to the area. When blood flow is reduced, cells die. The first cells affected by a lowered blood flow are nerve cells, leading to the loss of the ability to feel and to grip tools. Vibration injuries normally occur over time, with longer repeated use increasing the likelihood of injuries, whether they are limited to the hands and arms or involve the entire body.

People who suffer injuries to joints due to repetitive use of power tools or repetitive movements at their work may want to file a workers' compensation claim. When doing so, it is important to obtain the needed medical documentation demonstrating that the injury related to the victim's work. By making certain all of the information is provided, people may be better-positioned to appeal in the event the employer files a dispute or denial of the claim. An attorney can be of assistance to an injured worker by helping to file the claim with all necessary attachments.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "Vibration Hazards in the Workplace: The Basics of Risk Assessment", Rob Brauch, Feb. 1, 2015

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