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The basics of vibration hazards in the workplace

In workplaces throughout Minnesota and the rest of the U.S., employers strive to protect their workers from a variety health hazards. Despite this, workers and employers alike may not be aware of the harmful effects vibrations can have on the human body. Impact drills, grinders, sanders and saws are all examples of tools that, if used often enough, can cause serious harm.

Vibration injuries generally affect either the hands and arms or the lower back. Hand-arm vibrations can cause loss of dexterity; grip and feeling are known as a contributing factor to ergonomic-related injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Whole-body vibrations are known to cause injuries and pain in the lower back region. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, lower back injuries are the most common cause of lost time and production output.

When a human body is subjected to vibrations from a power tool or similar object, important biological systems can be disrupted, resulting in insufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients reaching cells and tissues. If this disruption is prolonged, cells and tissues can die, potentially causing the aforementioned injuries.

When a workplace environment cause an individual to suffer from repetition injuries, he or she can file a claim to try to receive workers' compensation. If the workplace injury is more severe, it may be in the individual's best interests to file a lawsuit instead of a compensation claim. While there may be limitations on the benefits from workers' compensation, the awards available from a personal injury lawsuit may be greater. If a worker's compensation claim has already been made, a lawsuit cannot be filed.

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