Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a condition also known as Vibration White Finger – the name given to damaged hands caused by the regular use of power tools. This includes working with hammer drills, chainsaws, concrete breakers and any other piece of equipment that causes high energy vibration.
Some other tools that commonly cause HAVS include…
- Powered lawn mowers
- Cut-off saws
- Pedestal grinders
- Powered sanders
- Impact wrenches
- Needle scalers
- Power hammers and chisels
- Pneumatic drills
- Cut-off saws
- Concrete road breakers
The government estimates that up to 288,000 people in the UK alone suffer from HAVS – and it’s a condition where the symptoms must be recognised fast, as if it is left untreated and ignored, it can cause permanent damage to the hand and arm!
As the fingers are damaged from the overuse of power tools, the blood cannot flow as usual. This symptom in particular can become very apparent in the wet and cold weather specifically. This happens because the continuous use of high vibrational power can cause damage to the blood vessels, nerves, joints and muscles in the hand and arm – even when using high quality safety work gloves!
It is said to be the industrial form of Raynaud’s Syndrome, where circulation problems occur in cold working conditions. Early symptoms are similar to one another, including fingers turning white in cold weather, which is then followed by numbness, tingling and loss of nerve sensitivity.
If these symptoms are ignored it can quickly get much worse, leaving you unable to do your job with permanently injured hands! Here are some of the common symptoms that you should keep aware of…
- Fingers going white in cold weather conditions
- Tingling and numbness/loss of feeling in the fingers
- Loss of strength in the cold
Not acting upon these symptoms could cause
- Unable to pick up small objects
- Permanent numbness in the hands
- White fingers could occur more regular and become widespread