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The vibrations from power tools and machinery can injure workers

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Discussions about workplace safety in blue-collar professions often focus on sudden accidents, such as machinery malfunctions. Some of the worst incidents occur with little warning. Someone might lose their balance while doing construction work at a significant elevation. If they fall, they could incur numerous life-altering injuries.

Many other work-related medical issues in blue-collar settings develop slowly. The machinery and tools that workers rely on to make their jobs less physically demanding can be a source of injury. A mistake with a saw or drill could lead to severe injuries. Yet, even workers who never make significant mistakes while working could be at risk of concerning injuries. Simply needing to operate heavy machinery and power tools every day for years could lead to career-ending medical challenges.

Exposure to vibrations is a known job hazard

Power tools and equipment often produce powerful vibrations. For example, someone using a jackhammer to break up concrete may need to use all of their physical force to maintain manual control over the device, and their body absorbs some of the vibrational force of the jackhammer. The powerful vibrations moving through their hands and up their arms can cause damage to their bodies over time.

Vibration-related injuries can affect someone’s musculoskeletal system. They may develop repetitive strain disorders or pain symptoms. Pain in the back, neck and shoulders is common among those who have to frequently handle tools or equipment that vibrate. Workers may also develop headaches or motion sickness because of how the vibrations affect the neck and head.

Researchers have even connected long-term occupational exposure to workplace vibrations to increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer and type II diabetes. In some cases, the painful symptoms or functional limitations caused by workplace vibration exposure can render a worker incapable of safely and effectively fulfilling job responsibilities.

Thankfully, workers’ compensation benefits could be available. Employees can request benefits to pay for their medical treatment. They may also qualify for disability benefits if they require a leave of absence or must move into a new profession because they can no longer perform skilled blue-collar labor due to their functional limitations.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a difficult process, especially when someone needs to connect long-term work responsibilities to current medical challenges. Those who have the right help when seeking benefits can potentially increase their chances of filing a successful claim.