The injuries that workers fear the most are usually catastrophic ones, from a broken leg to a traumatic brain injury. There is no doubt that these injuries are incredibly harmful and life-changing for workers, however many workers might not consider just how dangerous and stressful smaller injuries they suffer on the job might be as well.
Hand injuries are a bigger problem than many workers think
According to Occupational Health & Safety, injuries affecting workers’ hands make up roughly 23% of all workplace injuries across the nation. Almost everyone, from industrial workers to teachers, uses their hands regularly in the course of their work.
However, the most common hand injuries generally include:
- Lacerations from sharp objects or machinery
- Burns from chemicals or flames
- Broken or fractured bones from lifting or blunt trauma
Many people might overlook the risk of hand injuries, but even the smallest hand injury can leave workers facing expensive medical bills. After all, there are 27 bones in the hand, eight more in the wrist plus a maze of tendons and nerves. This means there is a large variety of injuries that can affect the hand in different ways, and these injuries often require surgery, physical therapy or other medical care.
If workers cannot use their hands, they might not be able to complete their duties. So, these injuries could also lead to many days out of work.
Proper gloves can help prevent most hand injuries
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than one million workers suffer from hand injuries that take them to the emergency room each year. Of these workers:
- 70% did not have gloves on at the time of the injury; and
- The other 30% wore gloves, but not the proper ones for their job.
The number of hand injuries is still considerably higher than it should be, especially since agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration generally require certain workers to wear personal protective equipment.
As we mentioned previously, almost every worker in any field faces a risk of suffering a hand injury, but certain workers should ensure they wear the proper industrial gloves to avoid injury. The workers with the highest risks of hand injuries include:
- Construction workers
- Waste workers
- Emergency medical technicians
Workers will not be denied workers’ compensation because of this higher risk of injury they face every day on the job (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment §9-507). However, simply wearing the proper protective gloves could make all the difference.