Work Related Hand Injuries

The hands are one of the worker’s most valuable and versatile tools, but regardless of how much they are used, hand safety and injury prevention can often be overlooked by both employers and employees alike. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 1 million workers pay a visit to the emergency room each year because of serious work-related hand injuries, ranging from lacerations to burns and broken bones. Many of these workplace hand injuries can be prevented, however, with the right tools, resources and education.

What Are The Most Common Workplace Hand Injuries?

Our hands are incredibly versatile, but they are also vulnerable to a number of hazards that can cause injuries such as lacerations, crushes, punctures, avulsions or detachments, and fractures.

Lacerations, or deep cuts or tears in the flesh, are usually easily treated but tendon or nerve damage is possible if the cut is particularly deep, resulting in a longer recovery time and possible long-term damage.
Crushes: occur when the hand is caught between heavy equipment or machinery and another hard surface such as a wall or the floor. Depending on its severity, this type of injury often causes permanent damage, especially in cases where the crush injury prevents blood supply reaching the muscles.
Punctures: occur when sharp objects, such as nails, needles, knives, machinery etc., penetrate the skin and cause a wound that is typically narrower and deeper than a cut or scrape.
Avulsion fractures or detachments: Avulsion fractures occur when a bone and tendon or ligament are moving in opposite directions, for example when a ring or other piece of jewelry gets caught and pulls a small part of bone that is attached to a tendon or ligament away from the main section of the bone. Detachments can happen the same way but are usually more serious and often involve entire fingers or hands becoming separated from the body.
Fractures: often caused by trips, falls, and crushes, fractures of the hand and wrist can be complicated and typically require weeks to months of recovery time.

What Is Considered A Work-Related Injury?

A work-related injury or illness is considered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to be an event or exposure in the workplace that either caused, or contributed to, the injury or illness or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

What Are The Causes Of Work-Related Hand Injuries?

Hand injuries can happen at any time and are often blamed on distraction, lack of education, or a disregard for safety protocols by the employee. While negligence and inattentiveness are certainly risk factors for workplace injuries, measures should be taken by employers to ensure there is sufficient preventative equipment and education available to workers and should eliminate as many distractions as possible, particularly in work areas where there is frequent use of heavy machinery or power tools. One simple preventative measure that employees can take is to always wear work gloves when working with heavy objects, moving parts, tools with sharp edges, electricity and chemicals. The gloves should be appropriate for the job, fit well and be in good condition. This extra layer of protection plays an important role in the prevention of workplace injuries to the hand(s) which can have a long-term detrimental effect to overall health and wellbeing.

If you or a loved one would like to know more about work related hand injuries, contact Florida Hand Center today!   We are an advanced medical facility dedicated to the treatment of hand and arm conditions with locations in Port Charlotte FL and Fort Myers FL and are proud to serve patients statewide. Call us or schedule an appointment today! We serve patients from Port Charlotte FL, Fort Myers FL, Murdock FL, Punta Gorda FL, Cape Coral FL, Estero FL, Lake Suzy FL, Charlotte Harbor FL, Harbour Heights FL, and Solana FL.