Workers’ Compensation For White Finger Syndrome
Drills, air hammers, jackhammers, hammer drills, chain saws, electric saws, and other tools can allow one person to do the job of 10, but there comes a price. Working with vibrating tools and machinery can eventually take its toll on your fingers and hands, leading to a condition called white finger syndrome, which is also known as Hand-Arm-Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) or Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Construction workers, landscapers, factory workers, and other manual laborers are the most likely victims of this debilitating medical condition. In certain lines of work white finger syndrome is almost an inevitability, such as in stonecutting. A study found that 89 percent of stonecutters reported having white finger syndrome, according to the National Safety Council. If you developed this syndrome at work, you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
What is White Finger Syndrome?
The medical terminology for white finger syndrome or HAVS is Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Raynaud’s Phenomenon occurs naturally in men and women, and women are more likely to develop it. The condition causes the fingers and/or toes to become inordinately numb, according to the Mayo Clinic, especially when exposed to cold or stress. The mechanism responsible for this is the narrowing or constriction of small arteries that supply blood to the skin. Working with vibrating equipment and machinery increases the risk of developing Rayaud’s Phenomenon. All it takes is using vibrating hand tools a few hours a day for as little as a few months to develop Raynaud’s Phenomenon.
Signs and Symptoms of White Finger Syndrome
Whether you have been working with hand-held power tools or machinery that exposes your hands and fingers to strong vibrations for a few months or over a decade, you may have Raynaud’s Phenomenon if you experience the following symptoms:
- Your fingers get colder more quickly than they once did;
- Your fingers get cold even when it is not cold out;
- Your fingers become white under cold or mild temperatures;
- Your fingers turn from white to blue;
- Your fingers feel prickly or painful when they warm up again; and
- Your fingers throb or swell up when they warm up.
Why You Need to See a Doctor For White Finger Syndrome
The longer you have Raynaud’s Phenomenon or white finger syndrome, the more damage occurs to the arteries that supply your fingers with blood. Over time, those arteries that get constricted or narrowed when it is cold out can become permanently thickened—the walls of the arteries thicken, not the overall inside diameter. This further constricts the blood flow to your fingers and hands. If the arteries become severely blocked, ulcers and gangrene from dead tissue can form, posing the threat of amputation.
An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You File a Claim
Employers and insurance carriers typically do everything they can to avoid paying out workers’ compensation benefits, which cover full medical expenses and partial wage replacement. If you have developed white finger syndrome and you regularly work with hand-held power tools or vibrating machinery, chances are that your line of work caused the damage to your arteries. Your employer should be held responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits. Call our Orlando workers’ compensation attorneys at the Payer Law today at 407-307-2979 to schedule a free consultation.