Hand Injuries at Work
Whatever your job is, the chances are you are frequently using your hands to get things done. Whether you are lifting heavy objects on a construction site, writing on a white board for your students, or typing up a report in your office, an injury to your hands could mean days or even weeks out of work. More than 1 million workers are sent to the ER each year because of serious hand injuries sustained while working. The cost of an injury you endure while trying to get your job done should not fall on you. Massachusetts law recognizes this, and you may be entitled to compensation if your hand was injured in your workplace.
There are many ways an individual may injure their hand, and the likelihood of each type of injury differs depending on the job. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most common hand injuries at work.
- Lacerations. Lacerations are cuts or tears in the flesh. There is often a quick recovery period but for some recovery is longer and damage to the hand continues for long periods.
- Crushes. This is when a worker’s hand is crushed between equipment or a surface. An injury of this sort often results in long term damage.
- Avulsion fractures and detachments. This occurs when a bone and tendon are pulling in opposing directions, perhaps if a piece of jewelry gets caught in a machine.
- Punctures. Punctures occur when a sharp object penetrates the skin resulting in a narrow, deep cut. These are common on construction sites.
- Fractures. Recovery for fractures, or a broken bone, may take anywhere from a week to several months.
- Burns. Employees in food service or who work with hot materials are at the highest risk. Burns range from mild to severe and recovery time varies greatly.
- Carpal Tunnel. This is the most common hand injury in office settings, sometimes caused by typing. The injury results in prolonged tingling and weakness in the hand. Sometimes doctors require the victim to wear a splint for a long period of time.
All types of jobs are vulnerable to hand injuries, but construction and manufacturing jobs carry a higher risk. These injuries are often a result of workers being distracted, having a lack of education as it relates to the work, or inadequate safety measures. The U.S. Beaureu of Labor Statistics found that 70% of hand injuries resulted because workers were not wearing protective gloves, and 30% occurred because workers were not wearing the right type of glove.
The fact is, the overwhelming majority of these injuries are avoidable, and the employer is in the best position to take precautions. The cost can of these injuries often fall on the employer. Mistakes happen, and in Massachusetts all employers are required to have workers compensation insurance. No fault is necessary to seek workers compensation in Massachusetts- you simply must show that you were injured on the job. Workers can be compensated for hospital costs and costs associates with long term damage, loss of productivity, and time way from work. The amount they can receive depends on the extent of their injuries.
If you are employed in any industry, you are at risk for a hand injury on the job. If you are ever injured on the job, after you seek medical attention for your injuries, contact our workers’ compensation team at Altman & Altman LLP. Our experienced work injury lawyers are available around the clock to answer your questions or to provide you a free case consultation. To speak to a local and dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer, give us a call at 617.492.3000.