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Addressing vibrational injuries from power tools

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2022 | Blog, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injuries |

Minnesota workers in several industries industries use power tools to get their jobs done. While chainsaws, drills and jackhammers allow people to take on challenging tasks, they can also cause unexpected injuries. Without precautions, working with power tools can lead to long-term nerve damage.

How do power tools cause nerve damage?

Commercial work tools convert fuel or electricity into kinetic energy. To harness this power and achieve the best results, the operator must hold the device steady using the weight of their body. Their hands and arms absorb some of its vibrations as they stabilize the tool. The combination of muscle strain and vibrating can damage nerves and soft tissue over time.

Signs of nerve damage

In a workers’ compensation claim for power tool nerve damage, the patient might list several symptoms. Some of the most common signs of nerve and deep tissue injuries are numbness and tingling in the fingers and hands. Other symptoms include:

  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Hand weakness
  • Loss of grip strength
  • Fingertip whitening

Some of these symptoms are temporary and will resolve after time away from the tools. Unfortunately, failure to address the signs can lead to permanent damage with chronic pain.

Preventive precautions

The primary ways to address power tool nerve damage are limiting the time someone works with the tools and allowing breaks between sessions. Time limits prevent the onset of nerve damage, and rest periods give the body time to recover.

Other safety measures include providing anti-vibration gloves, demonstrating proper use techniques, and using low-vibration tools.

Listen to your body

Most people worry about power tool injuries that involve contact with a moving part. However, vibrational nerve damage can have serious long-term effects on your well-being. Whether trimming hedges at home or cutting trees with a chainsaw, it is critical to listen to your body when working with these devices.

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