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Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

Last updated: March 21, 2019

What Does Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) Mean?

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is the collective term for all symptoms that are the result of vibration damages that may occur in the fingers, hands, and arms during repetitive work with vibrating tools or machinery.

Vibration injuries are divided into three subgroups: neurological disorders (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), vascular injuries, and musculoskeletal injuries (such as arthritis or tendinitis).

Safeopedia Explains Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

Hand-arm vibration syndrome causes permanent changes in sensory perception in the extremities, which can lead to numbness of fingers, muscle weakness and, in some cases, bouts of white finger. It is the result of prolonged work with vibrating tools, and the effects of vibration are cumulative. When symptoms first appear, they may disappear after awhile, but if exposure to vibration continues for a long period of time, symptoms can worsen and become permanent. In extreme cases of HAVS, the patient may lose fingers.

HAVS is caused by frequent and repeated use of hand-held vibrating tools like power drills, chainsaws, and pneumatic drills. It results in injury to the fingers' small nerves and blood vessels. Over time this causes them to gradually lose some of their function and cause symptoms. This industrial disease affects tens of thousands of workers and was first recognized as a potential occupational hazard in the mid-1980s.


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PPESafety EquipmentErgonomicsEHS ProgramsHand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

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