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The dangers of hand-arm vibration in the workplace

Pennsylvania is a state with a strong tradition in manufacturing and other heavy industries, and these are occupations that use a lot of powerful machinery and hand-operated power tools. These tools have the potential impart a large amount of vibrational energy to the hands and arms of the workers that employ them. Medical data indicates that this vibration can be dangerous and can lead to serious occupational injuries.

Somewhere near 2 million workers nationwide spend a substantial part of their career in contact with machinery that could cause their hands and arms to vibrate so strongly that there would be a potential for harm. As many as a million of these workers will experience deleterious effects as a result of this vibrational exposure. The resulting neuromuscular disorder is known as hand-arm vibration syndrome.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome has a number of signature symptoms. One of the most visible appears as the flow of blood to the fingers is impaired, which can cause them to noticeably turn paler.

Every employer in Pennsylvania has a legally mandated responsibility to protect their employees from work-related injuries such as those from vibrational exposure. In the event that an employee is injured as a result of an accident or through repeated use of certain types of equipment, an attorney may first want to assist the victim in ascertaining eligibility for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits can provide medical care and treatment as well as a percentage of wages lost due to an inability to return to work. If in fact workers' compensation is an option, an attorney can often assist in the preparation and filing of the required claim.

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