Your hand begins to feel numb, like it’s falling asleep. Then comes a shocking sensation, like a hundred stingers piercing your fingers at once.
Unless you just cut down a tree with a beehive, the tingling pain in your hand and fingers could be caused by the vibrations from your chainsaw.
Do you feel the vibrations?
Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is a term used to describe damage that can occur to arms, hands, and fingers when exposed to constant vibrations from tools and power equipment. HAVS can develop over several months to several years, depending on the frequency and levels of vibration exposure.
Think about professional loggers who work an entire day with a chainsaw in their hands, or construction workers who operate a jack hammer or power cutter every day.
Vibrations can damage the blood vessels and tissue in your hands and fingers. Some people may begin to lose feeling in those regions, as well. A noticeable symptom often comes in the form of “White Finger.”
Beware the White Finger
As the blood vessels in your fingers are irritated by the vibrations, they temporarily cut off proper blood circulation to your fingers. Without normal blood flow, the fingers will begin to turn white.
Your fingers may start to feel numb, followed by an uncomfortable tingling sensation and sharp pain as the blood vessels attempt to recover. Numbness and pain — not the best feelings to have while operating a chainsaw, are they?
In order to combat the non-stop vibrations of certain power equipment and construction machinery, vibration absorbers or anti-vibration mounts are used to decrease the vibrations from the machine’s engine. They typically come in the form of rubber mounts or steel springs.
Chainsaw vibrations are a big safety concern in the Outdoor Power Equipment Industry. Many professional loggers have a chainsaw by their side every day. If the saw becomes uncomfortable to use for long periods of time, due to the constant vibrations, the operator will fatigue faster. Fatigue is a huge risk factor that can lead to on-the-job injuries.
Husqvarna’s LowVib System
Husqvarna’s exclusive LowVib anti-vibration system reduces vibrations from the engine to the handles, so the user can more comfortably operate the machine for extended periods of time.
Husqvarna chainsaws, leaf blowers, and other handheld equipment with the LowVib system use small steel spring mounts placed in strategic locations to separate the vibrations of the engine from the handle. By isolating the engine from the frame with this two mass principle, vibration levels are significantly reduced.
All New Husqvarna Chainsaws are equipped with the LowVib system.
How to Prevent HAVS
- Give yourself a break… or two… or three. Take small breaks from using the equipment from time to time.
- Wear safety work gloves.
- Loosen your grip, but not too much. Get in your comfort zone to operate the equipment safely without straining your hands.
- Maintain your tools so they operate in prime condition.
- Use equipment built with an effective anti-vibration system.