Sanding machines typically generate a great deal of vibration. As such, they are among the top causes of a repetitive strain injury commonly known as vibration white finger, which can also be caused by accidents at work during which direct force is applied to the hand.
About this condition
This work-related condition is caused by damage to the nerves and muscles in the operator’s hands. Coupled with impaired flow of blood, this damage can result in blanching of the fingers; pins and needless or numbness; aching, pain and loss of sensation. Some sufferers of this work-induced condition also experience a loss of dexterity.
Employers can do much to help prevent workers developing this condition, which is, by the way, just one of a selection of conditions often referred to as hand arm vibration syndrome (which is basically an umbrella term for this type of upper limb disorder). One option is to get low vibration sanders. While these tools are typically a little more expensive, they do help to significantly reduce the risk of vibration related injuries.
If this is not an option for whatever reason, the risk of workers being affected by vibration injuries at work can be reduced by providing gloves or pads that can absorb vibration. As the risk of developing this repetitive stress injury is increased by working in the cold, keeping the working environment at acceptable temperatures is also helpful. Keeping the duration of sanding operations as short as possible and allowing workers to take 10-minute recovery breaks after every hour they have to operate a sanding machine will also help to keep incidences of this industrial illness at a minimum.
In addition to informing employees of the possible risk involved in using sanders and the above measures, employers also need to offer regular health screening to operators. This enables early detection of a possible onset of this industrial condition. If and when such signs are detected, the affected worker should be given adequate time away from the task of using a sander for this work injury to heal.
Claiming against injuries
If your hand is damaged during a work accident or if you suffer vibration white finger due to continued exposure to excessive levels of vibration, you may be entitled to work injury compensation. Call Accident Advice Helpline, a law firm specialising in compensation claims, on 0800 689 0500 to get professional advice and experienced legal representation today.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice