Hand-arm vibration syndrome is a fairly inconvenient condition that affects the hands. It causes numbness, weakness, and fatigue, resulting in chronic symptoms. It is typical for crane operators because they use vibrating tools and machinery all day.
This causes some symptoms to develop over time, which could get worse. For example, if you use vibrating tools for ten hours a day, six days a week, your symptoms will progress more quickly.
Let's explore more about hand-arm vibration syndrome and why it is common in crane operators.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome – What You Need to Know
This syndrome is caused by using vibrating tools for extended periods over many years. Some examples include hand drills and chainsaws. Crane operators are always dealing with vibrating components that can cause the syndrome.
Doctors and researchers theorize that nerves and vessels in our hands may accumulate repeating micro-injuries. When the body constantly tries to heal these damages, it creates an endless cycle of healing and injury. Statistics indicate that 10% of all crane operators can develop hand-arm vibration syndrome.
Some symptoms include dull aches, painful sensations in fingers, and a white finger. You may develop chronic symptoms from permanently affected nerves. Numbness and tingling sensations are common symptoms of this condition. You may notice some clumsiness at the beginning and start finding it difficult to use your hands for basic functions.
Why is HAVS Common in Crane Operators?
Crane operators are constantly using vibrating tools and machinery at their jobs. Even cranes are always vibrating, which can cause continuous damage to your nerves and blood vessels. If you suddenly begin to develop these symptoms, you should find another line of work.
Continuing to work as a crane operator after developing hand-arm vibration syndrome means you increase your chances of making the condition permanent. However, it may come as a surprise when the condition develops long after leaving your job. This means the damage had been done.
How to Prevent HAVS From Developing?
Prevention is the best cure. You should be aware of health concerns in your industry and take appropriate measures from day one to prevent HAVS from developing.
When using vibrating tools, crane operators are advised to hold them loosely. You should not have a tight grip on them and should not settle for a single position, which can cause issues down the line.
Your tools need to be well-maintained. This means if some are malfunctioning, they should be replaced instead of trying to get the most out of them.
It is in your best interests to use vibrating tools in short bursts. If you use them for extended periods without taking breaks, you are at greater risk of developing the condition. Operators can take ten minutes off to rest after using their tools to complete a task.
If you work in a cold environment, you should cover your hands and keep them warm. This keeps blood flow active and allows your hands to stay healthy in the long run.
Many industry experts also advise workers to quit smoking cigarettes since they can harm blood flow. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to keep your body strong and resilient against diseases, illnesses, and conditions.
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