Hand Injuries in the Workplace

If you lose the use of a hand or your fingers due to a work related injury, what do you really lose?

November 4, 2016

Human hands are unique and one of our greatest assets. You DO NOT want to take them for granted!

Can you imagine not being able to work with your hands?

Try buttoning your shirt, eating dinner, writing your name, or tying your shoes with only one hand. It isn’t all that easy!

Hand injuries can vary from minor injuries to amputations. In the work place, a hand injury can be devastating and lead to lost time accidents. It is estimated that there are well over one million hand/upper extremity injuries each year. Twenty percent of disabling workplace injuries involve the hands according to the Safety and Health Council of North Carolina. Potential hand hazards at work include, but not limited to:

  •                 Bites
  •                 Lacerations
  •                 Vibration
  •                 Chemicals
  •                 Crushing
  •                 Burns
  •                 Sprains/Strains
  •                 Fractures
  •                 Contusions
  •                 Punctures
  •                 Amputations

Our employers have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for us to work in and provide the proper equipment to do the job. Machine guards and warning stickers should be in place. Work stations in office settings should be set up to avoid unnecessary strain. BUT, in the work place, we ALL have the responsibility to NOT engage in risky behaviors and to report any uncontrolled or unaddressed hazards to our employers.

As a worker, our responsibilities include:

  •                 Watching where you put your hands or where you reach.
  •                 Remembering that working faster is not necessarily smarter
  •                 Keeping the work site clean and organized
  •                 Wearing protective clothing when indicated
  •                 Removing rings and bracelets if working around machinery or chemicals
  •                 Using the proper glove for the task
  •                 Using the right tool for the job
  •                 Using good hand postures to avoid overworking or injuring muscles
  •                 Reporting any uncontrolled or unaddressed hazards
  •                 Keeping our hands and wrists flexible and strong by stretching and exercising regularly

So, start a wave!  Promote hand safety in your work place!  Let’s not become a statistic!


  Jennifer Durham, M.Ed, OTR/L,CHT

  Jennifer joined Hayes Hand Center in 1992 and is the Clinical  Coordinator at Hayes Hand Center Hand Therapy Department.

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