Your hands might not be what think of first when talking about workplace injury prevention, but perhaps they should be.
Hand-related injuries account for 1/3 of all injuries that happen in the workplace, 1/3 of chronic injuries, 1/4 of lost time at work, and 1/5 of permanent disability.
This statistic is exactly what a new hand safety website, ChooseHandSafety.org, is trying to change by raising awareness about the importance of keeping your hands out of harm’s way and how to take preventative steps to make your work a safer place in general.
Construction workers tend to be the most at-risk for injuring their hands or wrist while on-the-job due to the nature of their work. However, safety experts caution that hand injuries and disorders is a problem that plagues nearly every industry.
The most widespread work-related hand injuries are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which can be brought on by using a tool that requires you to grip it forcefully, holding your hand or wrist in an awkward position, or excessive hand vibrations. Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome are among some of the most common MSDs.
Getting medical treatment for an injury to the hand isn’t cheap either. Studies from numerous countries have confirmed that hand injuries are repeatedly one of the most expensive types of injuries out there.
For instance, based on patient follow-up data gathered from 2007 to 2008, a recent study in the Netherlands found that the price tag for hand and wrist injuries was an estimated $740 million (US dollars), making it the single most expensive type of injury—followed by knee and lower limb fractures ($562 million), hip fractures ($532 million), and skull-brain injury ($355 million).
The researchers also discovered that the main reason why hand and wrist injuries are so expensive is not because of direct medical costs or long-term treatment—but primarily due to productivity loss.
In conclusion: “Hand and wrist injuries not only constitute a substantial part of all treated injuries but also represent a considerable economic burden, with both high health-care and productivity costs. Hand and wrist injuries should be a priority area for research in trauma care, and further research could help to reduce the cost of these injuries, both to the health-care system and to society.”
To get training tools on how to increase awareness about hand safety in your workplace, as well as find out if your hand tools are correctly sized and where you can find OSHA-approved gloves, visit ChooseHandSafety.org.
In the event that you suffer an injury in the workplace and your claim is ignored, or if your employer fails to provide a safe working environment, then you’ll want to talk to workplace injury attorney R. Mack Babcock as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.
Learn more about how to report an on-the-job injury and obtain benefits by reading our Colorado workplace injury guide today.