Texas construction workers might not think about workplace injuries if they experience cold hands. However, numbness and tingling might cause them to wonder about carpal tunnel syndrome. Although carpal tunnel issues can be debilitating and can result from work-related activities, there are other possible diagnoses for hand problems. One of the most common disorders arising from construction and manufacturing work is actually believed to be under-reported because of its similarities to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Hand-arm vibration syndrome can affect both the nerves and blood vessels of a worker's hands, and by the time that damage begins to manifest through signs such as numbness and pain, it may be too late to fix the problem. The issue arises through the use of powerful hand tools and equipment that can expose the hands to long periods of heavy vibration. The issue can be further exacerbated by the exposure of one's hands to cold air during such activities. Those who smoke or fail to wear properly insulated gloves while operating pneumatic hammers, drills, or grinders in icy conditions may increase their risk of damage.
In severe instances of HAVS, a worker could contract gangrene in an affected hand. However, this is a rare outcome. Although surgery is often considered for relieving pressure on the nerves affected in carpal tunnel syndrome, this will not solve the problem for someone dealing with HAVS. Symptoms can be delayed by between six months and six years, which makes it more difficult to identify the exact project that may have caused the condition.
Although HAVS is not an injury that occurs at a set point in time, it is associated with work activity. This makes it a condition that should be covered by workers' compensation benefits. However, obtaining benefits for the delayed manifestation of a workplace injury could be complicated, making legal assistance a wise decision for someone who is thinking about filing a claim related to HAVS.