Employees in most occupations use their hands for tasks ranging from computer use to driving to lifting or operating equipment. A workplace hand or finger injury could have a significant effect not only on a worker’s ability to do their job, but for a myriad of fine motor tasks in daily life.
Hand injuries account for more than 23 percent of workplace injuries, according to the United States Department of Labor. Injuries to the hand and fingers include cuts and lacerations, burns, sprains, strains, fractures, and in severe cases can even result in amputation.
Safety measures and proper workplace design are therefore critical.
Types of Risks and Prevention
Hand and finger hazards on the job can be categorized into different areas. But a common thread is that any hand injury is a problem if it results in lost work time and reduced ability to perform basic daily tasks. Every year, more than one million U.S. workers will end up at the emergency room for a workplace hand injury.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that the average Workers’ Compensation claim for a hand injury is now upwards of $6,000. Hand injuries are the second leading cause of on-the-job injuries, making this topic critical.
Mechanical hazards in the workplace are one area that employers should assess regularly to determine the risks and potential solutions. Mechanical hazards broadly cover machinery, power and hand tools, and any equipment that can result in a worker’s hands or fingers being caught, crushed or severed.
Employers are responsible for adhering to safety standards, and complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for the workplace.
Comprehensive safety training must be an essential part of a workplace that has mechanical hazards. Hazard reduction includes regular maintenance of equipment and investing in new equipment when practical.
Hazard reduction also includes providing employees with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and training on the use of machine guards and proper lockout/tagout procedures.
Contact hazards are another aspect of risk assessment that employers should review closely. Contact hazards to the hands include electrical current and heat and chemical burns, as well as tools with sharp or unguarded edges that can cause lacerations. Employees should be trained and have the appropriate equipment or safeguards available.
The employer should ensure that tools are used for the appropriate task, and provide proper disposal sites for used sharps. In cases of electrical current hazards, standard equipment lockout/tagout procedures should be available, and visibly posted for shutting down a power source before undertaking any maintenance.
When employees are injured on the job, Workers’ Compensation laws will provide for lost wages and medical treatment. Hand injury claims can be costly and cause significant lost work time. In severe cases, they could result in partial or full disability.
If an employer denies your Workers’ Compensation claim, you will need the services of a skilled Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer to advocate for your rights.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Workers Injured on the Job
If you have had a hand or finger injury while performing your job, you will need a law firm with experience in representing injured workers. Wilmington workplace injury lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will fight for your just compensation and medical treatment. We represent workers in Wilmington, Dover, Newark and Middletown, and throughout Delaware, as well as in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Please complete our online form or call us at 302-888-1221 for an initial evaluation.