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Symptoms and What to do

Long-term work with vibrating hand held tools may cause vibration damage, also called Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). A Vibration damage is actually several different damages that may occur in single or in combination.

Hand-arm vibration damages are normally divided into three groups that provide different problems or symptoms:

Components of Vibration damages

Components of Vibration damages

  • Neurological problems, giving numbness, pain, impaired sensation, and impaired fine motor skills.
  • Circulation problems (vasospastic), known as white finger due to injuries in the thin blood vessels in the hand or the finger.
  • Muscle-skeletal problems, giving particular reduced grip force and pain

The risk of getting damages increases with poor ergonomics, low work temperature (cold hands) or a stressful work environment. If you have similar problems as described above, you should do something immediately. Then we recommend the following steps:

  1. Contact your occupational health care and ask for a medical examination as soon as possible.
  2. Talk with your safety representative or employer and inform them that you have a problem that you suspect is due to vibrations.
  3. Ask your employer to review your workplace and try to find (and mitigate) the tasks that give you the (biggest) problems.
  4. If it appears that you have got a Vibration damage at your workplace, it is important to get it classified as a work related damage. Then you might get some compensation, but the regulations are different in each country.

Finally, your problems may not necessarily be a consequence of your use of vibrating tools at your work. There are many leisure activities that can cause the same problems, e.g. cycling, motorcycle driving, construction, automotive repair and more.