Common Tool Injuries in Pennsylvania Workers Comp

After more than a decade of representing injured workers in Pennsylvania, one thing I see often are common work injuries caused by use of tools in manufacturing, assembly, welding, and other tool based job positions. Last year alone, there were a reported 960,000 tool related injuries and over 200 deaths. Tool use is common and unavoidable. In many positions, tool use is a daily, hourly, and even down to the minute an essential job duty. Unfortunately, they can also lead to common work injuries.

Tool use can cause both traumatic and repetitive injuries. Traumatic injuries are injuries such as broken bones from a crush injury, lacerations, punctures, and cuts, burns, electric shock, eye injuries from parts or debris, amputations, and more.

Tools can also cause repetitive stress injuries. How you hold a tool, how long you hold and use a tool, how often at one time you hold a tool, difficulty of the work, angles used with the tool, and the vibration factor of the tool can lead to repetitive stress injuries. Here are the common five repetitive use injuries using tools.


When gripping tools with pressure, using vibrating tools frequently, and otherwise handling tools in a highly repetitive manner can cause nerve damage and swelling in your hands and wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause swelling, hand pain, numbness and tingling, and ultimately lead to you not being able to work. It can also lead to you dropping things and being unable to grip with pressure. It can be easily treated with various treatment options. However, the longer carpal tunnel syndrome is left untreated, the more difficulty the recovery road may become for an injured worker.


Tendonitis is typically defined as inflammation of a tendon near a joint, which can frequently cause pain and swelling and lack of motion. Tendon injuries are commonly associated with repetitive work activities, such as tool use. When treated right away and properly, medications and therapy can relieve the condition.


Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, otherwise known as Ulnar Nerve Entrapment, is similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome except that it involves the elbow. It is frequently caused by repetitive activities that compress the ulnar nerve. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome develops when the ulnar nerve, which you may know as the funny bone sensation, becomes compressed or stretched. The condition causes pain in the elbow, numbness or tingling in certain fingers, pain in the forearm, and weakness.


Tool use can also cause neck related injuries. The way you hold a tool, the way your neck may be positioned for tool use, and moving your head in the same way repetitively can lead to neck pain. Left untreated, these strains can lead to disc herniations and bulges in the neck. These type of activities can cause neck pain and numbness and tingling down your arms.


Trigger finger can be caused by repetitive gripping, pinching, or tool use that puts repeated stress and pressure in the palm of the hand. This condition happens when there is inflammation around the flexor tendons in the fingers or thumb. The result of inflammation is that it causes stiffness of the finger, a popping or clicking sensation in the finger, tenderness in the palm of ther hand at the base of the finger, and the inability to bend or straighten the finger.

Bottom line is this — Repetitive stress injuries can impact the ability to perform your job, manage and handle daily activities, and can have long-term financial impact if it affects your ability to work. Repetitive injuries are work-related injuries. You are entitled to wage loss and medical benefits in workers compensation. Mooney Law is experienced, proven, and trusted in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation litigation. We have collected tens of millions of dollars on behalf of injured workers in Pennsylvania. Call us today for a FREE consultation at 717-200-HELP or 717-632-4656. You can also email at For more information on Mooney Law, visit our website.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.