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How dangerous are vibration hazards in the workplace?

| Mar 19, 2021 | Industrial Workers' Injuries

Vibration hazards are frequent issues in the workplace. Workers grow accustomed to these hazards, even if it causes them to feel uncomfortable for a while after they leave the worksite.

However, this discomfort could be a greater risk to industrial workers than they believe.

Does vibration exposure really cause injury?

Exposure to vibration is a risk in many industries, especially:

  • Construction, from working with heavy machinery and power tools
  • Manufacturing, also from operating power tools and machinery
  • Transportation, from driving long distances in a vibrating vehicle

However, most workers in these fields do not consider vibration a risk in their job, especially in comparison with the other imminent hazards they face regularly. It is true that exposure to vibration is not the greatest risk of injury that industrial workers face, but it is a cause of injury that can affect workers long-term.

What is the risk?

There are generally two conditions that can result from long-term exposure to vibration: whole-body vibration and hand-arm vibration syndrome. Hand-arm vibration syndrome often stems from operating power tools and can lead to:

Depending on the duration of exposure, workers could also suffer serious pain or injuries to their backs.

There are ways to mitigate the risk. There are methods to dampen vibrations, and maintaining machines and tools properly can keep vibrations under control. But according to Safety + Health Magazine, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not strictly enforce standards limiting workers’ exposure to vibrations.

Maryland workers suffering injuries from these conditions can seek workers’ compensation benefits, but they must make sure they understand the hazards they face – including those that are commonly overlooked.

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