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What is vibration white finger, and how could it affect you?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2022 | Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation

Some on-the-job injuries could leave New York workers with long-term damage. Those who regularly use power tools could experience potential nerve damage if they develop an injury known as vibration white finger.

Vibration white finger and its effects

Vibration white finger (VWF), which is also known as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), is a serious injury caused by repeated vibration from the use of power tools. Workers in professions such as construction and carpentry use these tools on a regular basis and are susceptible to this type of injury.

When a person uses power tools regularly, it could gradually build up to VWF, which affects the muscles, nerves and blood vessels in the hands, fingers and arms.

The condition is progressive, which means it worsens over time. As a result, preventive measures are the best way to avoid developing a permanent, disabling injury. Once VWF gets to a certain point, its effects may be irreversible and workers often have to file for workers’ compensation.

Symptoms of vibration white finger

When a person sustains a VWF injury, they experience a slew of symptoms. It’s common to have numbness in the hands, fingers and arms and reduced sensitivity. Tingling sensations may occur, and the person’s grip and strength are significantly weakened.

However, one of the most notable and alarming symptoms of VWF is the whiteness of the hands and fingers. When outside in cold weather, the whitening can be even worse.

Preventing vibration white finger

There are measures that can be taken to prevent the risk of developing VWF. A lighter, relaxed grip on power tools and taking periodic breaks to give yourself a rest could help. Wearing padded gloves and other protective gear to absorb vibration and keeping your hands warm while working in cold conditions could also help.

Employers must provide workers with protective, preventive measures to help them avoid vibration white finger.